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First lady, Chelsea leave for six-nation African tour

Hillary Rodham Clinton left Sunday for Africa and a tour she hopes will highlight the nation's post-Cold War interest in the continent's people.

The first lady's trip began a day later than planned to let her spend time with President Clinton, who is recovering from knee surgery. She left after he returned to the White House from Bethesda Naval Hospital in suburban Maryland, where he underwent surgery Friday to reattach a torn tendon.

Last week Mrs. Clinton said she expects the trip to broaden Americans' awareness of the need to engage with Africa.

"Instability in Africa, whether it is rooted in war, in terrorism, in organized crime, in disease . . . touches us, too," she said.

Mrs. Clinton and daughter Chelsea were bound for Senegal, where they planned to visit Goree Island, once the hub of the slave trade to America. From there they are headed to South Africa.

During her two-week tour, the first lady will highlight efforts under way in Africa to promote education and health care for women and children. She also will stop at the war crimes tribunal in Tanzania that is investigating mass slaughter in Rwanda.

Other stops will be in Zimbabwe, Uganda and Eritrea.