Beginning Friday 18 July, Al Jazeera will broadcast an exclusive interview with Graca Machel, the wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela. In a wide-ranging and intimate interview with Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, Graca shares some of her personal thoughts and experiences with Mandela, providing unique insights into the character of this towering figure of African history.
“When I met him in the sense of, as a man and a woman, he was very lonely…at the end of the day, after the public meetings etc, he would go home and he would be alone.’ Drawing on her deep personal relationship with Mandela, Graca provides Al Jazeera viewers with a first-hand take on Mandela’s personality and struggles, from his loneliness and intense longing for family-life following his release from prison, to their shared efforts to forgive those responsible for apartheid, to their continued campaigns to defend the vulnerable, particularly children, around the world. On the eve of his 90th birthday, Graca summarizes the enduring appeal of Mandela, stating, “I think in a turbulent world…what Madiba [Mandela] offers is really that sense of dignity, the sense of perseverance in what is good, and never, never move away from what is good, what is just…’
Graca was born in Mozambique and attended the University of Lisbon, where her interest in the struggle for liberation began. Upon her return to Mozambique, Graca joined the Mozambique Liberation Front to fight for her country’s independence. Following Mozambique’s independence from colonial rule in 1975, Graca became the country’s first Minister for Education and Culture. Since then, Graca has continued her humanitarian work, leading the team responsible for the United Nations Report on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children and fighting tirelessly for the rights of children and women around the world. Graca was previously married to the late Mozambican president Samora Machel, who died in a plane accident in 1986.
This interview further highlights Al Jazeera’s commitment to providing its viewers with a fresh take on the stories and figures that matter to them, bringing to life details of Mandela’s life that are often overlooked by other news networks. On his 90th birthday, Al Jazeera will bring yet another angle of this fascinating character to its audiences around the world.
The interview with Graca Machel will be aired at the following times on Al Jazeera English:
Friday, 18 JULY: 06h30 GMT, 14h30 GMT, 20h30 GMT
Saturday, 19 JULY: 03h30 GMT, 12h30 GMT