Graça Machel

Graça Machel, 74, is one of the most powerful and historical women in Africa. Known affectionately as Mama Graça. She was at first the minister of education in Mozambique, a position she held from 1975 to 1989.

She has been an agent of change in her role including at the helm of the Graça Machel Trust and as a member of The Elders, a group of global leaders working together to facilitate peace, justice, and human rights.

Graça Machel Trust promotes women’s empowerment and leadership, child rights, and good nutrition. Machel says the impact is much more important than power.

Speaking to Forbes she said; “I struggle to understand this issue of power because, speaking for myself, I do not care about being powerful. I care more about impact.”

She added: “What is important as a human being and a social being is to ask ‘how do I provoke a positive impact which will make life much better for the people that I work with and I work for?’”

Machel has a long history of supporting causes from health to children’s rights, education, leadership, and economic empowerment, and often lends her support to organizations that work to end extreme poverty and promote social justice.

In 2018, she attended Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 to mark what would have been her former husband Nelson Mandela’s centenary. She also supported Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg by presenting the inaugural Global Citizen Prize for a World Leader at the festival. 

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