Josina Muthemba Machel (August 10, 1945 - April 7, 1971) is a major heroine in the history of Mozambique and the second wife of Samora Machel. Her grandfather was a lay Presbyterian evangelist who preached nationalism and cultural identity against European assimilation. Her father worked as a nurse in government hospitals. At one time, Josina and her family were all jailed as a result of their participation in clandestine opposition to the Portuguese colonial administration. She became a key figure in the Mozambican struggle for independence, promoted the emancipation of African women, married the man who would become the country’s first president, and died at the age of 25.
At age 7, Josina entered the primary school for the children of Portuguese and assimilated African families, she later entered “Dr. Azevedo e Silva” school to pursue an interest in accounting. Two years later, she joined the Nucleo dos Estudantes Secondários de Moçambique (Mozambican Secondary Students Group), which encourages cultural identity and political awareness among secondary students. In March 1964 she fled the country with several other students with the intention of joining the Mozambican Liberation Front (FRELIMO), which was based in Tanzania. They managed to travel as far as the border between Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Zambia but were arrested by the police and jailed. Five months later, at her 19th birthday, Josina was released from jail as a result of an international campaign carried out by FRELIMO.
As she reached her 20th birthday, Josina was immediately assigned responsibilities within FRELIMO’s multifaceted quest for national independence. She began to work at the Mozambique Institute, a residential education center for Mozambican students in Tanzania, as assistant to the director. She turned down an offer of a scholarship in Switzerland to volunteer for FRELIMO’s newly created Women’s Branch (Destacamento Feminino). The Women’s Branch provides women with political and military training in order for them to be fully integrated into the liberation struggle. This initiative was criticized because it went against traditional African cultural norms.
In May 1969, she married Samora Machel at the Educational Center of Tunduru in southern Tanzania, a facility she had helped to develop. At the end of November, Josina and Samora’s only child was born.
During 1970 Josina begins to suffer from stomach pains and weakness. She went to Moscow for medical reasons. A year later, she became seriously ill again. She was taken to Muhimbili Hospital and died on April 7, 1971 at the age of 25. She was buried in Kinondoni Cemetery.
A year later, FRELIMO declared April 7, the day of Josina’s death, as National Women’s Day in Mozambique. In March 1973 FRELIMO established the National Organization of Mozambican Women as the movement’s social and political arm for women. Inspired in part by the ideals of women’s emancipation that Machel promoted, the organization continued to work for this goal following Mozambican independence in 1975. The principal secondary school in the capital city is named after her.
(—sources: wikipedia and mozambiquehistory)
Renamo, trained by Rhodesia and South Africa
Flag of Mozambique
An infographic depicting the percentage share of formal firms that are owned by women in Africa. Data from the World Bank.
Mozambique flag - kalahnikov is the foundation of this country