As Nelson Mandela’s coffin was slowly lowered into the ground in the hills close to where he grew up, his widow, Graça Machel, crumpled with grief. There would, as is customary, be six more months of mourning. But on Friday, Machel broke her silence to describe the pain of losing her “soul mate” and “best friend”.
In her first interview since Mandela’s death in December at the age of 95, Machel spoke of his “peaceful” last moments and expressed gratitude to the world for its outpouring of support. She also revealed how in recent years she censored his TV and newspaper reading to protect South Africa’s first black president from bad news that could have led to disillusionment with the direction of his beloved ANC.
Speaking at a press conference in Johannesburg, the former first lady said: “There’s nothing which prepares you, even if you know your beloved one is sick. Nothing prepares you for the pain of seeing him passing.”
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