Marrying two statesmen is not a CV achievement – Machel

The international advocate for women’s and children’s rights, Graça

Machel, has politely rejected her introduction at a high-powered forum as the

only woman to have married presidents of two different countries.

“Marrying someone is not an achievement. You can’t put it on your

CV,” Machel told delegates at the Global Forum in Cape Town.

Machel said her marriage to former president Nelson Mandela and

Mozambican former president Samora Machel until his death in a plane crash in

1986 “had nothing to do with position” but that she greatly respected how they

had used their influence in driving change in society.

Speaking at a Most Powerful Women breakfast, Machel said she did

not look at her husbands as presidents but as “two extraordinary human

beings”.

Responding to a question by the chairperson of Time Incorporated,

Ann Moore, on whether she would consider taking up a powerful position herself,

Machel said she would rather work in a collective and use her influence from the

ground up.

“I am a visionary, but I am not a do-er. It wouldn’t work. I’ve

also been very close to it (the top state position) and know how nasty it can

be. There is so much biting from behind. I’d rather use my energy in a

constructive way.”

Machel is a key figure in the Global Forum, which has drawn

together leaders in business and politics from around the world. She heads the

Foundation for Community Development and is a member of The Elders, a group of

eminent global former leaders who try to use their influence and experience to

support peace and help alleviate human suffering.

 
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