|Graça Machel in 2010|
|First Lady of South Africa|
18 July 1998 – 14 June 1999
|Preceded by||Winnie Madikizela-Mandela*|
|Succeeded by||Zanele Mbeki|
|First Lady of Mozambique|
11 November 1975 – 19 October 1986
|Succeeded by||Marcelina Chissano|
17 October 1945 |
Incadine, Portuguese East Africa
(m. 1975–1986; his death)
(m. 1998–2013; his death)
|Children||Josina Z. Machel & Malengani Machel|
|Alma mater||University of Lisbon|
|Occupation||Teacher and then Education Minister|
Graça Machel DBE (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈɡɾasɐ mɐˈʃɛɫ], born Graça Simbine pronounced: [sĩˈbĩni], 17 October 1945) is a Mozambican politician and humanitarian. She is the widow of former South African president Nelson Mandela and Mozambican president Samora Machel. She is an international advocate for women’s and children’s rights and in 1997 was made a British dame for her humanitarian work.
Graça Machel is the only woman in history to have been first lady of two different countries, serving as the First Lady of Mozambique from 1975 to 1986 and the First Lady of South Africa from 1998 to 1999.
Born in rural Incadine, Gaza Province, Portuguese East Africa (modern-day Mozambique), she attended Methodist mission schools before gaining a scholarship to the University of Lisbon in Portugal, where she studied German and first became involved in independence issues. She is also fluent in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and English, as well as her native Tsonga. She returned to Portuguese East Africa in 1973, joined the Mozambican Liberation Front (Frelimo) and became a schoolteacher.
Following Mozambique's independence in 1975, Machel was appointed Minister for Education and Culture. She married Samora Machel the same year. Following her retirement from the Mozambique ministry, Machel was appointed as the expert in charge of producing the groundbreaking United Nations report on the impact of armed conflict on children. Her first husband died in a plane crash over South Africa in 1986.
She married South African President Nelson Mandela on 18 July 1998, his 80th birthday, thus becoming the only woman in the world to have been First Lady of two countries.
Positions and awards
- President School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
- Mozambican Minister for Education
- Chairman of National Organization of Children of Mozambique
- Organization that places orphans in village homes
- Works closely with families to rehabilitate children
- Delegate to 1998 UNICEF conference in Zimbabwe
- President of National Commission of UNESCO
- Member of Commonwealth of Nations' Eminent Persons Group
- Served international steering committee 1990 World Conference on Education for All
- Appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to chair a study on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children
- Recipient of InterAction's humanitarian award 1997
- Received major award from CARE as result-longstanding work on behalf of children
- She won the Nansen Refugee Award, awarded by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees for her humanitarian work.
- Machel is also a member of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s Ibrahim Prize Committee.
- Chancellor of the University of Cape Town
- Doutora Honoris Causa by University of Évora, Portugal, 14 November 2008
- On 28 August 2007 Graça Machel was made an honorary Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire at the request of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
- Received Honorary Doctorate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2006.
- Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) Honoris Causa in March 2008, from the University of Stellenbosch.
On 18 July 2007 in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel, and Desmond Tutu convened The Elders, a group of world leaders to contribute their wisdom, leadership and integrity to tackle some of the world's toughest problems. Mandela announced its formation in a speech on his 89th birthday.
Kofi Annan serves as Chair of The Elders and Gro Harlem Brundtland as Deputy Chair. The other members of the group are Martti Ahtisaari, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Hina Jilani, Graça Machel, Mary Robinson and Ernesto Zedillo. Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu are Honorary Elders.
The Elders work globally, on thematic as well as geographically specific subjects. The Elders’ priority issue areas include the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Korean Peninsula, Sudan and South Sudan, sustainable development, and equality for girls and women.
The Elders are independently funded by a group of donors: Sir Richard Branson and Jean Oelwang (Virgin Unite), Peter Gabriel (The Peter Gabriel Foundation), Kathy Bushkin Calvin (The United Nations Foundation), Jeremy Coller and Lulit Solomon (J Coller Foundation), Niclas Kjellström-Matseke (Swedish Postcode Lottery), Randy Newcomb and Pam Omidyar (Humanity United), Jeff Skoll and Sally Osberg (Skoll Foundation), Jovanka Porsche (HP Capital Partners), Julie Quadrio Curzio (Quadrio Curzio Family Trust), Amy Towers (The Nduna Foundation), Shannon Sedgwick Davis (The Bridgeway Foundation) and Marieke van Schaik (Dutch Postcode Lottery). Mabel van Oranje, former CEO of The Elders, sits on the Advisory Council in her capacity as Advisory Committee Chair of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.
The Africa Progress Panel
Machel is a member of the Africa Progress Panel (APP), a group of ten distinguished individuals who advocate at the highest levels for equitable and sustainable development in Africa. Every year, the Panel releases a report, the Africa Progress Report, that outlines an issue of immediate importance to the continent and suggests a set of associated policies. In 2012, the Africa Progress Report highlighted issues of Jobs, Justice, and Equity. The 2013 report will outline issues relating to oil, gas, and mining in Africa.
- Impact of Armed Conflict on Children. Unicef.org. Retrieved on 2011-11-07.
- "The North South Prize of Lisbon". North-South Centre. Council of Europe. Archived from the original on 2008-02-15. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
- "Eminent Advisory Board".
- Graça Machel (Mozambique). United Nations Foundation profile
- "Graca Machel to receive honorary doctorate from the University of Stellenbosch". University of Stellenbosch. 18 October 2007. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
- "The Elders: Our Work". TheElders.org. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
- Elisabeth Braw, Metro International (2011-10-10). "Graca Machel: Within Ten Years Women Will Have Changed Africa". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
- Graça Machel and Desmond Tutu (2012-08-01). "Early marriage robs children of their opportunities". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
- "The Elders: Donors". TheElders.org. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
- BBC Profile of Graça Machel
- UNICEF Report – Impact of Armed Conflict on Children by Graça Machel
- SAHistory bio
- UN Foundation Bio