Graca Machel's mourning period is over

By Drum Digital
27 June 2014

Former president Nelson Mandela's wife Graça Machel has returned to public life after six months of mourning.

Former president Nelson Mandela's wife Graça Machel has returned to public life after six months of mourning, her trust said on Friday.

"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 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 life time."

On Monday, the hospital's trust announced that Group Five had won the contract to construct the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital in Parktown.

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

The hospital was expected to employ around 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 took ownership of four properties that the couple jointly owned in Mozambique.

She also kept their vehicles, jewellery she received during the marriage and all money in their bank accounts or invested with other financial institutions.

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

When a couple is married in community of property, the surviving partner is entitled to 50 percent of the estate if one of them dies.

An assessment at the time put Mandela's estate at R46 million. - Sapa

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