The Presidential Years

I do know that Graca Machel has made a very important difference to his life. He was lonely. He sought some of us to a breakfast or dinner with him, so that he can talk about things which do not bear immediately about his responsibilities and his work. When he asks me to go for breakfast or for dinner, which is less often now that Graca is there than before, we don't talk about matters of state or policy or other weighty matters. Like older men do, we talk about the past experiences and reminisce and chuckle. And having a partner, a wife, to do this with has been a very important thing that he has not had for a very long time.

I am happy for him. I am happy for Graca, because whether he goes to Qunu with her or he stays in the Johannesburg home--neither of them like the official residence in Pretoria ... although he is on the other end of a telephone and just concerned about all sorts of things, he nevertheless is for the first time in his life able to lead what one may describe as a normal life, where he doesn't have to be on his guard, he doesn't have to address matter of state. He can talk about his children and particularly his grandchildren ... and talk about Graca's children. She, herself, has had a life in a struggle, although geographically in a different place. But they can identify in relation to that. He can give her comfort because I don't think that the hurt of the killing or death of her husband has really left her. So they have much in common, much to talk about. And they walk around like young lovers.

George Bizos