Graça Machel in 2010
|First Lady of South Africa|
18 July 1998 – 14 June 1999
|Preceded by||Zindzi Mandela|
|Succeeded by||Zanele Mbeki|
|Minister of Education and Culture of Mozambique|
|Preceded by||Office created|
|First Lady of Mozambique|
11 November 1975 – 19 October 1986
|Preceded by||Office created|
|Succeeded by||Marcelina Chissano|
17 October 1945
Incadine, Portuguese Mozambique
(m. 1975; died 1986)
(m. 1998; died 2013)
|Alma mater||University of Lisbon|
|Occupation||Teacher, politician, activist|
Graça Machel [ˈɡɾasɐ mɐˈʃɛɫ]; née Simbine, pronounced [sĩˈbĩni], born 17 October 1945) is a Mozambican politician and humanitarian. She is the widow of both former presidents of Mozambique and South Africa; Mozambican president Samora Machel and South African president Nelson Mandela. Machel is an international advocate for women's and children's rights and was made an honorary British Dame by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997 for her humanitarian work. She is the only woman in modern history to have served as First Lady of two different countries.(Portuguese pronunciation:
Graça Machel Mandela 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.
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.
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 first president Samora Machel that same year, changing her last name to Machel.
In 1997, Machel was honored with the Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for her contributions and services in the field of human rights protection. One year later, Machel was one of the two winners of the North–South Prize awarded by the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe.
Machel has been chancellor of the University of Cape Town from 1999 to 2019. She was named president of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London in 2012. In 2016, Machel was named chancellor of the African Leadership University, a role that she still holds today.
On 17 July 2018, Machel attended the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, which was located at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, alongside South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and former US President Barack Obama. The event was visited by nearly 15,000 people, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's birth.
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. From 2008 until 2009, she was a member of the High Level Taskforce on Innovative International Financing for Health Systems, co-chaired by Gordon Brown and Robert Zoellick. She currently serves as the chair of The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH). In January 2016, she was also appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the High-level Advisory Group for Every Woman Every Child.
On 18 July 2007 in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel Mandela, 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.
Machel has been particularly involved in The Elders' work on child marriage, including the founding of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.
Simbine married Samora Machel, the first president of Mozambique, in 1975. Together they had two children: daughter Josina (born April 1976) and son Malengane (born December 1978). Samora Machel died in office in 1986 when his presidential aircraft crashed near the Mozambique-South Africa border.
Graça Machel Mandela 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.
|New title|| First Lady of Mozambique
Title last held byWinnie Madikizela-Mandela
| First Lady of South Africa