They were married on his 80th birthday. Now, in Nelson Mandela's 95th year, Graca Machel must say farewell.

The third wife of the revered former South African president was by her husband's side earlier this summer when Mandela was admitted to hospital in June and multiple news reports stated Mandela was in grave condition. Machel, 68, remained quiet amidst the rumours Mandela was in a vegetative state and shortly thereafter the couple celebrated their 15th anniversary on July 18. Mandela made a recovery and returned home. Mandela died months later on December 5.

Machel is, like Mandela, a dedicated humanitarian. She was first married to Mozambican president Samora Michel (also deceased), and was appointed the First Minister of Education in 1975, after the country declared its independence. Since then, her work has included a groundbreaking report on the effect of armed conflict on children and has focused on improving the welfare of children and women in Africa. She has won numerous awards for her humanitarian work, including the Laureate of Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger in 1992, and the Nansen Medal in recognition of her contribution to the welfare of refugee children in 1995. Machel is a member of The Elders, a group of world leaders chaired by Kofi Annan with the goal of working together for peace and human rights. The group was founded by Mandela.

Mandela and his wife met in the early 1990s, and officially became an item after they were spotted holding hands several times, and stealing a kiss at Robert Mugabe's wedding, according to Business Day Live.

Mandela is survived by Machel, his daughter Makaziwe by his first marriage to Evelyn Mase, and daughters Zindzi and Zenani by his second marriage to Winnie Mandela.

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  • Nelson Mandela

    “When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”

  • Nelson Mandela

    "I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death."

  • Nelson Mandela

    “It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”

  • Nelson Mandela

    "Appearances matter -- and remember to smile."

  • Nelson Mandela

    "A leader. . .is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind."

  • Nelson Mandela

    “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”

  • Nelson Mandela

    “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

  • Nelson Mandela

    “Courage is not the absence of fear — it is inspiring others to move beyond it.”

  • Nelson Mandela

    “Where you stand depends on where you sit.”

  • Nelson Mandela

    “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”