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(Redirected from Graca Machel)

Graša Machel is the widow of former Mozambique president Samora Machel, who died in a plane crash over South Africa in 1986, and is the current wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela.

Born in rural Mozambique on 23rd October 1946, Machel attended Methodist Mission schools before gaining a scholarship to attend university in Portugal, where she first became involved in independence issues. She returned to Mozambique in 1973, joined FRELIMO and became a school teacher.

Following Mozambique independence in 1975, Machel was appointed Minister for Education and Culture, although she also found the time to marry Samora Machel the same year. Following her retirement from the Mozambique ministry, Machel was placed in charge of producing the ground breaking United Nations Report on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children.

Machel received the 1995 Nansen Medal from the United Nations in recognition of her longstanding humanitarian work, particularly on behalf of refugee children. She was thrust back into the international spotlight in July 1998 following her marriage to Nelson Mandela.

She is quoted as having said "Why is it that the worst of everything that is evil and inhuman is to be found in Africa? What is wrong with us Africans?" This is a question frequently asked among Africans and people who examine (or attempt to rectify) some of the humanitarian disasters in Africa.

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