Woman of the Week

Friday, February 4, 2011

Passionate, Enthusiastic, Beautiful Mother these are some of the words you could use to describe todays Woman of the week. Graca Machel is an exceptional lady, she is the first African woman to be made a British Dame and is the only woman to hold the title of first lady in two countries i.e. Mozambique and South Africa. Graca is the mother of 7 children, 2 with Samora Machel and 5 from Samora's first wife. She is fluent in French, Spanish, Italian,Portuguese, and English, as well as her native Tsonga. She went to University in Lisbon and also received military training in Mozambique and was an active member of FRELIMO The liberation front of Mozambique. (This woman is Superwoman!!)

She suffered tragedy through losing her former husband Samora Machel in tragic circumstances but somehow managed to find strength to take care of her children as well as the children of Mozambique who suffered greatly due to conflict. The truth and reconciliation commission in South Africa is now investigating the circumstances of Samora's death.

Samora and Graca Machel

After Samora's death, she says she felt a deep, deep sense of loss and emptiness. The two had shared a very close and loving partnership. They had fought together to liberate their beloved Mozambique, had worked together in the new government and were raising a family together.

"It [the pain] was so deep and so big that you felt almost lost in it. His death was so unexpected, and it was in such a violent way," she says wiping away tears. "It was also humiliating in the sense you always ask why should it be like this, and you never find the right answer for that."


Ms. Machel served as Mozambique's first post-independence Minister for Education and within 10 years, school enrolment had doubled to over 80 per cent of school-age children.Source She has worked very hard for the children of her native Mozambique so that they can get an education.

Over the years, Gra├ža Machel has gained international recognition for her achievements. Her many awards include the Laureate of Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger from the Hunger Project in 1992 and the Nansen Medal in recognition of her contribution to the welfare of refugee children in 1995. She has received the Inter Press Service’s International Achievement Award for her work on behalf of children internationally, the Africare Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award and the North-South Prize of the Council of Europe, among others.Source

When I grow up, I want to be like Graca Machel. This woman has overcome tragedy to become a world leader/elder who takes part in foreign policy issues, fights for the rights of children and women, works hard to keep children out of conflict while look fabulous and being a wife to one of the greatest leaders of our generation Nelson Mandela. She has a certain elegance that many women work hard to achieve, her hair is beautiful whether in braids or in a short cut...and she clearly values a good manicure. I love this woman!!!

Happy Friday!!

A Simple Thing said...

When people talk about the women in Africa, I wish they highlight people like Graca Machel - This is the first time I've ever heard of her!

Nyachomba Kariuki said...

@ASimpleThing,It is very sad when the media does not highlight ladies or men from Africa who work so hard for the continent..Graca Machel is exceptional...I think this is what made us want to do these posts to showcase the ladies in Africa who are doing big things..look out for more

SugarPuss said...

In one of her interviews she was asked why she kept her first husband's name, Machel, instead of taking Mandela's name which as you know is such a big deal in Africa, forsaking your past and taking up ur man's name(i can literally hear chest thumping in my head when i say that, men!). And she just answered simply that everyone knows who Mandela is and they know am his wife but i wished to keep Machel's name to keep Machel's memory alive in me and his people.


Nyachomba Kariuki said...

@Sugarpuss...I love that...I had heard that as well and it's more than inspiring..You can tell that she loved Samora Machel very much!

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