Because of her beauty and natural gift, Grace won many men's hearts at a young age despite going through military training and was even trained as a guerrilla fighter. The Former Portuguese student, Grace met the first President of independent Mozambique, Samora Machel in 1974 when she came back to Mozambique after finalizing her studies in Portugal. During the civil war, she and Machel became lovers and got married in August 1975, nearly two months after Mozambique became independent. Torixus discovered that Graca was now Mozambique's First Lady and was made the first minister of culture and education as well. Mozambique experienced an increase in school attendance during her tenure as the Minister of Education. When her husband died in a plane crash, Graca resigned from her position as minister of education. She had been wearing black for five years and was fundamentally distressed. But the death of her husband did not deter her from her child advocacy work, being a woman blessed with exceptional skills.
- Funeral of Samora Machel — Pinterest
Machel Grace founded a foundation to combat poverty in 1991, after being inspired by her 12-year-old son. In 1995, for her work on children's rights in refugee camps, she received the UN Nansen Award. She was urged to run for UN Secretary-General the same year, but she declined, saying: "There is no political will," she said of the United Nations. What will I do there, then? She was, perhaps, giving way to something more difficult: becoming the hero of South Africa, the third wife of Nelson Mandela. She was generally seen around Mandela in the 1990s, following their first official meeting after his release from jail in 1990. Following Mandela's divorce from Winnie, the two became friends, but this later turned into love.
- Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel – Torixus
On July 18, 1998, on his 80th birthday, Graca married Mandela, making her the first woman in history to be the First Lady of two separate countries. In Mozambique, she was still an economic and political power. "She once said to two different leaders about her marriage: "It's not two leaders who have fallen in love with me, just two real people. I feel fortunate to have shared my life with two of these incredible men.
Mandela died in December 2013.
Machel said she would never want to be characterized by her marriages, despite being married to two distinct legendary figures. "I'm not the wife of Samora," she is claimed to have said in the past. “I’m me.”
Born to a peasant family in Gaza Province, Portuguese East Africa, which is now modern-day Mozambique, on October 17, 1945, Graca received a high school scholarship in the capital, Maputo, at the age of six, where she became the only African in a class full of white students. After studying languages at the University of Lisbon in Portugal in 1968, Graca later left Portugal because of her experience during her school years after establishing her liberation strategy. She has so far won several awards, including the Hunger Project's Laureate of Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger in 1992, the International Achievement Award of the Inter Press Service (IPS) for her work on behalf of children globally, and the Africa Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award.
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