President Obama to travel to South Africa to honor Mandela

President Obama speaks with reporters at the White House on Monday about the threat of a government shutdown.

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama speaks with reporters at the White House on Monday about the threat of a government shutdown.

The White House says President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will travel to South Africa next week to pay respects to Nelson Mandela.

White House press secretary Jay Carney says the Obamas will participate in memorial events, but didn't say specifically what day they planned to be in South Africa. The South African government announced that Mandela would be honored with a state burial on Dec. 15.

Mandela has been an anti-apartheid icon and his nation's first black president. He died Thursday at age 95. In remarks following Mandela's death, Obama counted himself as one of the countless millions who have been inspired by the South African leader.

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