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Graça Machel
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World Leader
    (October 17, 1945- )
    Born in Incandine (Portuguese East Africa), Mozambique
    Birth name is Graça Simbine
    Mozambican politician and humanitarian
    Widow to Mozambican president Samora Machel (m. 1975-1986) and former South African president Nelson Mandela (1998-2013)
    First Lady of Mozambique and Minister for Mozambique Education and Culture (1975-1986)
    First Lady of South Africa (1998-1999)
    Formed The Elders organization with her husband and several world leaders (July 2007)
    Serves as the chair of The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH)
    Serves as Chair of the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA) Eminent Advisory Board
    She was initially disliked by the South African public.
    She married her way to power in two separate countries.
    She was caught in the middle of the Mandela family's bitter legal disputes in 2013.
    She was on open and friendly diplomatic terms with Communist dictators like Nicolae Ceausescu and Fidel Castro, through her husbands.
    She married President Samora Machel within only a year of being appointed Minister of Mozambican Education and Culture (at least give her credit for being a fast worker!)
    She married President Nelson Mandela on his eightieth birthday, only two years after his divorce from Winnie Mandela (she was 52 at the time - making for almost a thirty year age gap).
    During their courting phase, her Madiba aggravated his bodyguards by insisting on unplanned stops on diplomatic trips to bring her back chocolates.
    She vocally took issue with her second husband's status as a world icon, stating 'The aura around him was a bit confusing. But then I learned to live with it, in terms of separating the two.'
    She has been called South Africa's Jackie Kennedy.
    She is fluent in French, Shangaan, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and English.
    She is one of the ten members of the Africa Progress Panel.
    She is the only public figure in history to be First Lady of two separate nations, South Africa and Mozambique.
    She endured the trauma of widowhood in the public eye twice in her lifetime (her first husband was killed in a plane crash in 1986).
    She received the Nansen Medal from the United Nations for her humanitarian work for refugees (1995).
    She was awarded the prestigious North-South prize by the Council of Europe (1998).
    She was made an honorary Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire at the request of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (2007).
    She was outspoken against the Portuguese colonial government and was a member of the Mozambican Liberation Front.
    She maintained her dignity during the Mandela family's squabbling, keeping vigilant watch by her husband's hospital bedside until his death.
    She is a vocal advocate for children's rights and young girls' education, and has served as the Secretary-General on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children and children's issues for the United Nations.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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