Samora Moisés Machel, 1st President of Mozambique

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Samora Moisés Machel, 1st President of Mozambique

Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of Moisés Mandande Machel and Guguiye Thema Machel
Husband of Josina Machel and <private> Machel (Simbine)
Partner of Sorita Tchaicomo and Irene Buque
Father of Joscelina Tchaicomo / Machel?; Idelson Tchaicomo / Machel?; Olívia Tchaicomo / Machel?; N’tewane Tchaicomo / Machel?; Ornila Buque/ Machel? and 3 others
Brother of Boaventura Moisés Machel

Managed by: Sharon Doubell
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Samora Moisés Machel, 1st President of Mozambique

Marriages and family life of Samora Machel

In the late 1950s, when Machel was working as a nurse on Inhaca Island, he met a local girl, Sorita Tchaiakomo, and set up house with her. Their first child, Joscelina, was born on Inhaca in 1958. Idelson (1959) and Olívia (1961) were both born after the family returned to the mainland, where they lived in Mafalala, a suburb of Lourenço Marques.

Machel returned to the Miguel Bombarda Hospital and was accepted onto a course of further training. At the hospital he began a relationship with another nurse, Irene Buque. She gave birth to their daughter Ornila in February 1963, three weeks before Machel left Mozambique to join Frelimo. N’tewane, Tchaiakomo’s fourth child with Machel, was born that September, six months after Machel had left the country.Later, Machel expressed remorse for what he had come to see as bad behaviour towards Sorita and Irene.

Machel was not married to either Tchaiakomo or Buque. When he joined Frelimo in 1963 it was widely believed that the war for independence would last years, if not decades, and that the chances of Frelimo cadres being reunited with their families in Mozambique were vanishingly small. Josina Abiatar Muthemba, who had been active in the anti-colonial student organisation NESAM, arrived in Tanzania in 1965, on her second attempt to flee Mozambique. In Tanzania she worked first as an assistant to Janet Mondlane, Eduardo Mondlane's wife and director of the Mozambique Institute. She became one of the earliest recruits to the Women’s Detachment of the guerrilla army, and campaigned vigorously for women’s full inclusion within all aspects of the liberation struggle. She and Machel were married at Tunduru in southern Tanzania in May 1969. In November their only son Samora, known as Samito, was born. Josina returned to work as head of Social Affairs, with special responsibility for the welfare of war orphans, and for the health and education of all children in the war zones of northern Mozambique. But she felt increasingly unwell. In 1970 she travelled to the Soviet Union to seek a diagnosis for her chronic ill-health, but to no avail. She was probably suffering from leukaemia, although pancreatic cancer is another possibility. She died on April 7, 1971, aged twenty-five. Machel was devastated.

Machel’s second wife, Graça Simbine, joined Frelimo in 1973 after graduating in modern languages from Lisbon University. She worked as a teacher, first in Frelimo-held areas in Cabo Delgado province, and then at the Frelimo school in Tanzania. She became Minister for Education and Culture in newly independent Mozambique. She and Machel were married three months after Independence, in September 1975. In April 1976 a daughter, Josina, was born, and in December 1978 a son, Malengane.

At Independence Machel’s five older children joined Josina Machel’s son Samito in the Presidential household. In 1998, twelve years after Samora Machel's death, Graça Machel married Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa, thus becoming the only woman to have been First Lady of two African countries.

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Samora Moisés Machel, 1st President of Mozambique's Timeline

September 29, 1933
Age 24
Age 25
Lourenço Marques.
Age 27
Lourenço Marques.
February 1963
Age 29
September 1963
Age 29
November 1969
Age 36