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Machel, Graca (1946–)

Machel, Graca (1946–)

Mozamibian lawyer, revolutionary and first lady. Name variations: Graca Mandela. Born Graca Simbine, 1946, in rural Mozambique; dau. of farmers; attended Lisbon University in Portugal; m. Samora Machel (founding president of Mozambique, 1975–86), 1975 (died in plane crash 1986); m. Nelson Mandela (president of South Africa), July 1998; children: (1st m.) Josina and Malengane (also raised 5 children from Samora's 3 other wives).

Lawyer and freedom fighter, joined Frelimo Party (1973) which advocated independence from Portuguese colonial rule; with independence won, served as minister of education in Mozambique (1975–89); served as president of Foundation of Community Development and chair of National Organization of Children of Mozambique; supervised UN report on "The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children" (1997).

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