Graca Machel Officially Ends Her Mourning Period

7th July 2014 Six months after his passing, Graca Machel, the widow of former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, has officially ended her mourning period. For the last 6 months, Mrs Machel has been in seclusion following the traditional requirements of her husband’ passing. Mrs Machel says to the Guardian of her feelings at President Mandela’s passing “”If you can imagine how millions of people felt this sense of loss, then you can imagine what it means for me. That huge presence, filling every detail of my life, every detail of my life full of him. And now, it’s pain, it’s emptiness and it’s actually searching now – at a certain point you even search yourself, who I am now after this experience. It’s like something has changed inside you as well. Of course, you don’t go through this kind of experience and you remain exactly the same.

Of her relationship with Nelson Mandela she says “”Ever since you have seen me with Madiba, we always walked hand in hand. There hasn’t been any moment where we were together we wouldn’t hold each other’s hand. That was the best of moments. Whether it was in privacy, whether it was publicly, it was that kind of connection of communication which we had together.”

And of her life after his passing she says “I was fortunate that in Madiba I found a soul mate 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.”

The Children’s hospital is expected to be ready by 2016 and will have around 150 doctors and 451 paediatric nursing professionals on its staff team.

To flag off her return to active life, Mrs Machel will welcome over 1 000 international delegates to Johannesburg for the World Health Organization’s third forum of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, a forum co-hosted by the government with focus on women, children and newborns’ health. She is currently chair of the forum and is also African Ambassador for UNICEF’S A Promise Renewed, which is an initiative which supports the UN’s Every Woman and Child Movement.

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