First lady Michelle Obama left for Africa on Sunday, embarking on her second official solo journey abroad with a goal of advancing U.S. policies on education, health and democracy.

The first lady was to arrive Monday in South Africa, where she will make stops in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Later in the week she will visit Botswana.

As the wife of the first black U.S. president, Obama’s travel on the continent adds a different symbolic heft than previous first ladies’ trips there have had.

In South Africa, she will meet Graca Machel, the wife of former president Nelson Mandela. She also will visit the island where Mandela was imprisoned under apartheid.

In Botswana she will meet with President Ian Khama and with female leaders. She will also see a nature preserve.

The first lady is joined on this trip by her two daughters, Sasha and Malia, as well as her mother.

— Reuters