Wednesday, 17 October 2012

A bit on Graca, Graca Machel-Mandela.

I have always been in awe of Graca Machel. Did you know she is the only woman in the world to have been First Lady of two different countries?  Now that's BAWSS! The woman's standards are high neh?
I always wonder how this woman who has been married to intellectual, eligible men like Samora Machel and Nelson Mandela was. It surely isn't just her gorgeous self that piques the interest of Statesmen.

Mara we all see how gracious she is...her poise, her smile that is neither fake nor over-excited. This woman is extremely well composed. As her name implies neh? Graca is 'grace' / 'mercy' in Portuguese.
Born in 1945 in Mozambique to a Methodist minister's family, her fatherunfortunately died three weeks before her birth. She grew up in the grim realities that face the people of Mozambique to this day. Her father had insisted that her siblings ensure his last of six kids goes to school.

In '68, a Methodist Church bursary sent the young lady off to the University of Lisbon where she studied Romance languages. So she is fluent in Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese. (Do you know learning a new language grows your brain?)
So this is a smart woman too. She became very political, came home, joined FRELIMO( the Marxist-based Mozambican Liberation Front). She underwent tough military training and to this day can take a rifle apart and put it back together fast. It is after this training that she met Samora Machel. However, soon after, she was sent off to Tanzania to head the FRELIMO school. 

Samora Machel became president of Mozambique in 1975 and soon after married this amazing woman. He had 5 kids from his previous marriage and 2 with Graca. With her teaching experience and education, she became the Minister of Education and managed to imporove the literacy rate of Mozambique to about 72%. These efforts were however set aside when Southern Africa had its biggest drought between '79 and '81. This was closely followed by the rise of an anti government regime, RENAMO, which further made it harder for her to achieve her dream of educating her people.

Devastated at her husband's funeral
On October 19, 1986, Graca's world was turned into turmoil when her husband was tragically killed in a plane crash.
'His death was so unexpected, and it was in such a violent way.' she said.
She quit her job as Minister of Education. She became involved in other Education driven projects and foundations, the UN and a whole lotta other clever things that I'll list at the end of this.

Of course she and Nelson Mandela were familiar with each other by now. When Oliver Tambo died, he passed on his godfather position for the Machel kids to Nelson Mandela. The friendship between the two Greats deepened here. Their mutual desire to improve the lives of all African children brought them even closer and they started seeing each other more on visits to charity functions.  In 1998, on his 80th birthday, Nelson Mandela married Graca. 
I wonder how a conversation with her would be. I don't even wanna be the converser...I don't have the minimal smartness to be in that position. Although,being that smart, I bet she has a funny bone and is not always tuned in to 'Extreme Smart'. Wow...what a woman.

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