Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Graca Machel

Graca Simbine Machel was born on October 17, 1945 in Incadine, Gaza, Mozambique. She was sent to a Methodist mission school at age 6 and later went to university in Portugal on a mission scholarship. There she mingled with students from other Portuguese colonies and developed her liberation politics. Upon returning to Mozambique in 1973, Graca joined FRELIMO. Though she received military training, she worked with women and children and taught school. In 1974, she was appointed Deputy Director of the FRELIMO Secondary School at Bagamoyo. Following independence in 1975, Graca became Minister of Education and Culture and a member of FRELIMO's Central Committee. During her tenure (she resigned in 1989), the percentage of children enrolled in primary and secondary schools doubled. Primary school enrolment increased from 40% of children in 1975 to over 90% of boys and 75% of girls by 1989. She married Samora Machel, the first President of Mozambique, in 1975.

Graca Machel and Samora Machel

Graca Machel is the widow of Mozambique first President, Samora Machel, killed in an airplane crash in 1986. They were blessed with two children and is step-mother to Samora Machels five children.

Graca Machel was devastated. Pictures of the Machel funeral show her bowed over her husband's casket, prostrate with pain. "His death was so unexpected, and it was in such a violent way," she recalled for Ebony. In the company of many other sympathizers, jailed South African activist Nelson Mandela and his then-wife, Winnie, sent warm condolences for the loss of Samora Machel. Machel replied as soon as she felt able to do so. The newspaper Scotland on Sunday quoted her reply, "Those who have locked up your husband have killed mine," she wrote to Winnie Mandela, "They think that by cutting down the tallest trees they can destroy the forest," she added.

The "forest" continued to grow, but Graca Machel felt she had given whatever she could to her government post. She was now a widow with the solitary responsibility of bringing up her family alone, and she felt it was time for a change of scene. Soon after her husband's death she resigned her post as Minister of Education, leaving behind a sterling record--1.5 million children in school, as against 400,000 when she had arrived. source: Answers

President Machel was killed in a plane crash in 1986. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa is now inquiring into the plane crash, in which many believe the South African apartheid government to have been involved. Graca re-entered the global spotlight as a result of her July 1998 marriage to South African President Nelson Mandela. The couple commute between South Africa and Mozambique, and Graca continues her work with multiple organizations in Mozambique and at the U.N.

Josina Machel, Nelson Mandela, Malenga Machel and Graca Machel at Malenga’s graduation ceremony at University of Cape Town. Source:Oryxmedia

Mama Graca with son Malenga. Graca Machel also serves as a chairperson of the Whatana Group and investment company managed by her son Malenga in Mozambique.

The friendship between the two deepened in 1991, when African National Congress head Oliver Tambo died, passing his position as Machel's children's godfather on to Mandela.

Nelson and Graça were married on July 18, 1998, his eightieth birthday, in the presence of family, sixteen friends, and one photographer. "They were married in the new house [in Houghton], Mandela in a gold-patterned open shirt, Graca wearing a long white dress with wide puffed sleeves, Elizabethan-style. They were blessed beforehand by the Chief Rabbi, and also by the Muslim Sheikh Nazim Mohammed and the Hindu Mrs. Nanachene. They were married by a methodist Bishop, Myume Dandala -- since they had both been brought up as Methodists -- assisted by Desmond Tutu ..." Source: Anthony Sampson. Mandela: The Authorized Biography. 2000.

South African Former President Nelson Mandela (R), his wife Graca Machel (C), and Mandela's grandson Ziyanda Manaway celebrate Mandela's 91st birthday on July 18, 2009 in Houghton, Johannesburg. Mandela, South Africa's first black president, celebrated his birthday surrounded by family and anti apartheid stalwarts at his Johannesburg home.

Graca Machel laughs with Nelson Mandelas ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, at an event put on by South Africa's ruling African National Congress to mark his 90th birthday.

Graca Machel has been very active internationally and is world-renowned for her commitment to children's and women's rights, education, and development. She served as President of the National Commission of UNESCO in Mozambique, as a delegate to the 1988 UNICEF Conference, and on the steering committee of the 1990 World Conference on Education for All. In 1994 UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali appointed Graca the independent expert in charge of producing the U.N. Report on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children, and Graca spent 1994-96 traveling to investigate the plight of children in countries beset by war. The subject had never before been studied in depth and Graca's report was ground-breaking. As a result of her report, the General Assembly authorized the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Representative on the impact of armed conflict on children.

Over the years, Graça Machel has gained international recognition for her achievements. Her many awards include the Laureate of Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger from the Hunger Project in 1992 and the Nansen Medal in recognition of her contribution to the welfare of refugee children in 1995. She has received the Inter Press Service’s International Achievement Award for her work on behalf of children internationally, the Africare Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award and the North-South Prize of the Council of Europe, among others.

Graça Machel has served on the boards of numerous international organisations, including the UN Foundation, the Forum of African Women Educationalists, the African Leadership Forum, and the International Crisis Group. Among many other commitments, she is Chair of the Fund Board for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, and Peer of the African Peer Review Mechanism.


The Elders

Brandeis University

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Michael Poliza is a wildly successful German IT entrepreneur who sold his companies in 1997 and set off to capture the world on film.


As a teenager, he was as well known as any actor could possibly be in the Germany of that time, and appeared in well over 100 television shows and films. Poliza went on to make his fortune in the IT world, but in 1997, sold his companies with a view to buying a boat and setting sail for some exotic and relaxing locale. However this is not a man to do things by half measure, and in record time the Starship Millennium Voyage was underway. This three-year multimedia expedition around the world on a 75 ft expedition yacht was sponsored by SONY, Microsoft, Deutsche Telekom, Olympus and the WWF, and was broadcast daily on the Internet and followed by millions of people around the world.

Poliza’s first coffee table book was published in Germany and focused on the journeys and discoveries of the Starship Millennium Voyage. Quickly becoming a bestseller, it sold more than 50 000 copies. True to his IT roots and passions, Poliza was one of the pioneering photographers to embrace digital photography, and his Starship book was the very first coffee table book to carry more than 50% digital content.

That expedition over, Poliza returned to the continent that had stolen his heart: Africa. His book by that name was released to massive acclaim around the world in July 2006. Published by art photography specialists, teNeues (www.teneues.com), this is without a doubt the most talked-about photography title of recent years, showcasing Poliza’s keen eye for the beautiful simplicity of Nature’s graphics. The 10 000-copy first print run sold out in three months – quite an achievement for a title that costs in excess of ₤70. A more concise version was published in March 2007. The Essential AFRICA showcases the best of the bestselling AFRICA in a more portable format.

Stunning Himba women

I was about 10-12ft away in a vehicle, flat on the ground. She is looking through the ribcage of a buffalo that her pride killed a few hours before. Shot near Duba Plains,Okavango Delta, Botswana one of the worlds best place to see lion/buffalo interactions...

Nature photography provides you with many moments that can easily be described with cute, sweet, lovely, wonderful etc. But it is also very very much, the survival of the fittest. Eat and be eaten. Life and death. Happens every day, every hour, every minute. It is part of life....

This young Impala Antelope lamb was actually killed by a young female leopard. She was just on the way to a tree to eat it when about 8 Hyena came out of the bush and chased her off. She lost her kill and just barely made it to the tree. If they would have gotten her, they most definitely would have killed her. Eliminate competition. All the cats do that as well. The leopard was lucky, the Impala was not.
Michael Poliza

Michael Poliza teamed up with his friend Stefan Breuer on an 8-week helicopter expedition across Africa. Their long-held dream of flying from Hamburg to Cape Town is taking them across both Europe and Africa at low-level so that they can capture the beauty of both continents and share these birds-eye-view images with the world. This expedition was covered extensively by media in Europe and Africa. The book on the expedition, Eyes on Africa, was published in 2007.


In 2006, to fulfill a long-held dream, widely acclaimed photographer Michael Poliza and friend Stefan Breuer undertook a helicopter journey across Africa. Skimming close to the ground, they flew over 19 countries. Poliza's alluring and often surprising photographs share this exceptional journey with the world. With a birds-eye view, we witness the astounding beauty, scale and diversity of this imposing continent. The accompanying texts give a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the photographs, and brief background to some of the most fascinating subject matters.


Michael Poliza Official Website

Michael Poliza Photo Stream