Graça Machel, DBE (born Graça Simbine; 17 October 1945) is the third wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela and the widow of the late Mozambican president Samora Machel. She is the only person in the world to have been married to the presidents of two different nations. She is an international advocate for women’s and children’s rights.
Born in rural Incadine, Gaza Province, Mozambique, she attended Methodist Mission schools before gaining a scholarship to attend University of Lisbon in Portugal, where she first became involved in independence issues. In that university, she got a scholarship from Romance Languages. She is fluent in English, Spanish, Italian, French, as well as Portuguese and her native Tsonga. She returned to Mozambique in 1973, joined the Mozambican Liberation Front (FRELIMO) and became a schoolteacher.
Following Mozambique independence in 1975, Machel was appointed Minister for Education and Culture. She married Samora Machel the same year. Following her retirement from the Mozambique ministry, Machel was appointed as the expert in charge of producing the ground-breaking United Nations Report on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children. Her first husband died in a plane crash over South Africa in 1986.