SAnews.gov.za (Tshwane)

29 June 2014

South Africa: Graca Machel Ends Mourning Period

Photo: Phil Moore/Save the Children
Mother and baby in Guinea Bissau.

After six months of retreat, mourning the death of former President Nelson Mandela, his widow, Graca Machel will now return to her public life. In a statement, issued by her Trust on Friday, 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," Machel said in the statement she issued for the first time since Mandela's death.

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

Inspired by Mandela's rich legacy that promotes justice, compassion, and solidarity, Machel said her priority is to continue to advocate for an expanded space for women in Africa to access better opportunities in economic, political and social spheres.

"I was fortunate that in Madiba I found a soulmate and a fellow advocate for children and women's rights. 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."

She said she would also work with others to protect the rights of children, fight for an end to child marriage, as well as promote the attainment of quality education for all children.

"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 her role as the chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and African Ambassador for A Promise Reward at the third Partner's Forum, Machel will welcome over 1 000 international delegates on Monday, in Johannesburg.

The Partners' Forum is co-hosted by the government and will focus on progress made in women's, children's and newborns' health and the post-2015 development agenda.

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