Graça Machel in 2010
|First Lady of South Africa|
18 July 1998 – 14 June 1999
|Preceded by||Winnie Madikizela-Mandela*|
|Succeeded by||Zanele Mbeki|
|Mozambican Minister for Education and Culture|
|First Lady of Mozambique|
11 November 1975 – 19 October 1986
|Succeeded by||Marcelina Chissano|
17 October 1945 |
Incadine, Mozambique (then Portuguese East Africa)
|Children||Josina Z. Machel & Malengani Machel|
|Alma mater||University of Lisbon|
Graça Machel DBE (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈɡɾasɐ mɐˈʃɛɫ]; née 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 of Mozambican president Samora Machel. Machel 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 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. As a panel member she facilitates coalition building to leverage and broker knowledge, and convenes decision-makers to influence policy for lasting change in Africa.
Graça Machel is the only woman in history to have been first lady of two separate republics,[note 1] serving as the First Lady of Mozambique from 1975 to 1986 and the First Lady of South Africa from 1998 to 1999.
Early life and career
Graça Simbine was born 17 days after her father's death, the youngest of six children, 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 also speaks French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and English, as well as her native Shangaan language. Simbine returned to Portuguese East Africa in 1973, joining the Mozambican Liberation Front (Frelimo) and working as a schoolteacher.
Following Mozambique's independence in 1975, Simbine was appointed Minister for Education and Culture. She married Mozambican president Samora Machel that same year, changing her last name to Machel. 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.
Machel currently serves as the chair of The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH). She also serves as the chair of the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA) Eminent Advisory Board.
Machel has been chancellor of the University of Cape Town since 1999. She was named president of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London in 2012, and president of the African Leadership University in 2016.
Simbine married Samora Machel, the first President of Mozambique, in 1975. They had two children together: Josina and Malengani. Samora Machel died in a plane crash in South Africa in 1986.
Graça Machel married her second husband, Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg on 18 July 1998, Mandela's 80th birthday. At the time, Mandela was serving as the first post-apartheid president of South Africa. Mandela died of pneumonia on 5 December 2013.
- Mozambican Minister for Education and Culture (1975-1989)
- Chairman of National Organization of Children of Mozambique
- Delegate to 1998 UNICEF conference in Zimbabwe
- President of National Commission of UNESCO
- Member of Commonwealth of Nations' Eminent Persons Group
- Member of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation's Ibrahim Prize Committee
- InterAction's humanitarian award, 1997
- Received major award[clarification needed] from CARE as result-longstanding work on behalf of children
- Named "Decade Child Rights Hero" together with Nelson Mandela (watch here) by 7.1 million children through a Global Vote, organized as part of the educational World’s Children’s Prize Program
- Doutora Honoris Causa by University of Évora, Portugal, 14 November 2008
- Honorary Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire at the request of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
- Honorary doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Massachusetts in 2006.
- Received the World’s Children’s Prize in 2005, together with Nelson Mandela
- 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. Mandela announced its formation in a speech on his 89th birthday. The group works 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 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.
- Guinness World Records. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- "Graca Machel: There Is Nothing Exceptional About Me...". This Day Live. 16 August 2014.
- 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".
- "Reaching Every Woman and Every Child through Partnership" (PDF). World Health Organization. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- "Evening with Graca Machel and Fred Swaniker". Evening with Graca Machel and Fred Swaniker. Ayiba Team. 4 November 2015.
- Graça Machel (Mozambique) at the Wayback Machine (archived 4 July 2011). 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.