Nelson Mandela’s widow backs son for Mayor

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Graça Machel

Nelson Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel is backing her adopted son’s bid to become mayor of Mozambique’s capital, Maputo.

She is a renowned women’s rights activist and prominent politician in Mozambique and a senior member of the ruling Frelimo party, belonging to its central committee.

She was married to Mozambique’s first President Samora Machel, who was killed in a mysterious plane crash in 1986.

Her son’s mayoral ambitions are controversial because he was not chosen as a candidate for Frelimo, so Samora Machel Junior, known as “Samito”, will be running as an independent in the elections in October.

Samito is the son of President Machel’s first wife, Josina, who died in 1971.

But Graça Machel has always taken responsibility for all of Samora’s children, treating them as if they were her own. Since his death, she has been the head of the Machel family.

Ms Machel said she was backing Samito in her role as mother not as a politician:

I’m here as a citizen and as a Frelimo member, but above all else I am a mother.

People must remember that Josina is not here, Samora is not here. I am the only person who can be at Samito’s side to advise or not advise

Ms Machel married Mr Mandela on his 80th birthday in 1998, when he was still serving as South Africa’s first black president.

Emmanuel Ukoh