US President Obama stands in prison cell where Nelson Mandela was held on Robben Island
Gary Cameron / Reuters

TODAY   |  June 30, 2013

First family visits island where Mandela was held

Tributes to Nelson Mandela's life have underscored President Barack Obama’s visit to Africa, which continued Sunday when the first family visited Robben Island, which is where Mandela was held for 18 of the nearly 30 years he was in prison. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

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>>> paying tribute to former south african president nelson mandela as he remains hospitalized in critical condition. white house correspondent kristen welker is in cape town , south africa . kristen , good morning.

>> reporter: lester, good morning to you. tributes to nelson mandela have underscored this entire trip and they continue today. the first family touring robben island this morning. robben island is where nelson mandela was held for 18 of the 27 years he was imprisoned here in south africa . this will be president obama 's second trip to robben island . he first went back in 2006 . now on saturday president obama spent much of the day reaching out to the mandela family. he and first lady michelle obama called on nelson mandela 's wife. they visited with members of kne nelson mandela 's family at the mandela center. at that point president obama took a few moments to sign a copy of a book written by the former south african president called conversations with myself. now later on today the president will deliver the keynote speech of this entire trip at the university of cape town . that is where bobby kennedy delivered his famous antiapartheid speech back in 1966 . the president will talk about how far south africa has come since then and he'll also talk about some of the challenges that lie ahead and to that point the president had will announce a new partnership between the united states and six african nations to double access to electricity within the next decade. lesser?

>> kristen welker in cape town