Graça Machel returns to public life – foundation

2014-06-27 08:23

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Former president Nelson Mandela’s wife Graça Machel has returned to public life after six months of mourning, her foundation has said.

“After six months of retreat, mourning the death of Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela, Mrs Graça Machel will now return to her active role as a global advocate for women’s and children’s rights,” the Graça Machel Trust said today in a statement.

Mandela died at his Houghton home in December at the age of 95.

Machel said although the mourning period was over, she would not stop grieving.

“I lost my best friend, beloved husband and guide. I have been deeply touched and comforted by the affection shown towards my family and I ... was fortunate that in Madiba I found a soul mate and a fellow advocate for children and women’s rights,” she said.

“I am inspired by his rich legacy that promotes justice, compassion and solidarity. Children were very dear to Madiba and his last wish was to build the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital. This is my dream too and I wish it can be realised in my lifetime.”

On Monday, the hospital’s trust announced that Group Five had won the contract to build the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital in Parktown, northern Joburg.

Construction also began on Monday and the hospital was expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.

The hospital is expected to employ about 150 doctors and 451 paediatric nursing professionals.

Machel said her other priority was to continue advocating for women in Africa to access better opportunities in economic, political and social spheres.

“I will work with others to protect the rights of children, fight for an end to child marriage, ensure we continue to make progress on child survival and development, as well as promote the attainment of quality education for all children,” she said.

“As part of my democracy and good governance work across the African continent and internationally, I look forward to helping shape the new global development agenda.”

In February, Mandela’s will was made public and Machel waived her right to half of his estate.

Machel and Mandela were married in community of property. She was his third wife.

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