Graça Machel: Meet The Only First Lady Of Two Nation In History

Graça Machel
Graça Machel: Meet The Only First Lady Of Two Nation In History

Graça Machel DBE HonFBA is well known Mozambican politician and humanitarian. She was born 17th October 1945 and a widow of former President of Mozambique Samora Machel (1975–1986) and former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela (1998–2013).

Machel is an active international advocate for women’s and children’s rights and she 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 countries, South Africa and Mozambique.

Graça Machel is one of 10 eminent people that make up the Africa Progress Panel (APP), which promotes equitable and sustainable development in Africa at the highest levels. She convenes decision-makers to impact policy and fosters coalition building as a panelist to leverage and broker information and bring about long-lasting change in Africa.

Between 1999 to 2019, she served as the University of Cape Town’s chancellor.

Graça Machel’s Early life and education

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.

In addition to her native Xitsonga language, Machel also converses in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

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Graça Machel

Graça Machel’ Political career

Simbine joined the Mozambican Liberation Front (FRELIMO) and started working as a teacher when she returned to Portuguese East Africa in 1973. Simbine was chosen to serve as the country’s first Minister of Education and Culture on June 25, 1975, when Mozambique gained independence.

Over the course of her administration, the proportion of children attending elementary and secondary schools increased from roughly 40% of all pupils to over 90% for males and 75% for females.

Graça Machel

How many husbands did Graca Machel have?

Graça Machel DBE HonFBA
Spouse(s)Samora Machel ​ ​ ( m. 1975; died 1986)​ Nelson Mandela ​ ​ ( m. 1998; died 2013)​
Children2 (including Josina Z. Machel)
RelativesMandela family (by marriage)

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