The world pays tribute to Mandela (slideshow)
As South Africans come to terms with the loss of former president Nelson Mandela, the rest of the world bids farewell to Madiba.

Pimples: Saving Madiba's rabbit (video)
Gwede, Mac and Blade try their best to stop the rabbit from whispering in Mandela's ear. But the elusive animal has some tricks up its sleeve.

Zapiro's best Madiba cartoons (slideshow)
From his toughest moments to his most triumphant, Madiba has been an inspiration. Here are some of our favourite Zapiro cartoons about him from 1994 to 2013.

Mandela: SA's greatest son laid to rest (slideshow)
The world watched as Nelson Mandela was finally laid to rest in his hometown of Qunu following a dignified and moving funeral ceremony on Sunday.
The apple of Madiba's eye
Who is . . . Graa Machel?

Who is . . . Graa Machel?

It is entirely appropriate that Graa Machel did not agree to obey her new husband when they exchanged wedding vows last Saturday.

A thoroughly modern woman, she chose instead to love, honour and cherish Nelson Mandela - a commitment taken from a modern version of the Church of England's marriage ceremony.

The woman who has put the sparkle back in the president's eyes and a spring in his step is fiercely independent and will continue to uphold this independence even though she is now a wife once again.

You will not always see Machel at Mandela's side at official functions. South Africa's new first lady is determined to continue her work in Maputo, where she runs her own children's foundation. She will also continue in her role as an ambassador for the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), and the couple will still maintain residences in both South Africa and Mozambique.

Prior to the marriage, Machel would visit Madiba on average about two weeks out of every month, while the president would often sneak down to Maputo for a weekend of prawns and sun. These arrangements will continue as if nothing has changed.

Machel's modern approach to life, love and career began long before she met Mandela. Born Graa Simbine, she is a university graduate who's conversant in four languages. She joined Frelimo's armed struggle for independence and was a freedom fighter in her own right.

She married Samora Machel a few months after Mozambican independence in 1975. She was the country's first education minister and held the post at the time of her husband's death. This talented and charismatic couple believed they could bring peace and economic growth to Mozambique throughout the years of destabilisation.

Then came the Mbuzini plane crash on October 19 1986, which killed her husband. It was an event that shattered the Machel household and changed Graa Machel forever. For well over a decade now it has defined who she is and what she wants out of life.

Machel is convinced the crash was no accident and has dedicated her life to tracking down her husband's killers. Even if justice is not seen in her lifetime, she says, her children have vowed to carry on the hunt.

For the first year after the plane crash, Machel was too traumatised to fly anywhere. The Tupolev 134 crashed shortly after the pilot instructed his passengers to fasten their seatbelts. And even today, every time the "fasten seatbelt" sign lights up and a plane begins the descent for landing, she is haunted by visions of what her husband's last moments alive must have been like.

The crash is not a subject she talks about easily, and she has often said she made the decision a long time ago that life must go on.
I first met Machel at Mandela's Houghton residence. The meeting was friendly but a little stiff - the presidential residence does not lend itself to informality.

The fact that we were discussing the circumstances around the death of her former husband did not help much either. It is still a traumatic subject for Machel and at one point she was reduced to tears - tears that were gently wiped away by Madiba. Ever the dignified statesman, he responded to the situation with deep sensitivity and generously used the occasion to pay tribute to Samora Machel's leadership and vision as a true son of Africa.

The next time we met was at her Maputo residence. Barefoot and wearing a simple white T-shirt teamed with a red- and-black wrap-around skirt, this is the environment which she clearly feels most comfortable in.

Although Samora Machel never lived in this house, his presence is firmly entrenched in the giant black-and-white photograph of him that dominates the lounge. But it is still very much Graa Machel's home; from the exquisite marbled floors to the simple African artwork, her stylish taste is evident.

"I love natural light," she keeps stressing and complains that Madiba's Houghton home is too dark. That has since changed as the couple bought a new house in Houghton and this time it is full of natural light, elegant tiled floors and uncluttered, minimalist decor.

In her Maputo home we drink Portuguese white wine, dine on delicious Mozambican cuisine and the talk is of Mozambican politics, the Machel crash and her children. A charming mixture of Latin and African, she is a delightful lunch companion and a lot easier to talk to away from the public glare.

She is an intensely private person, seldom giving public interviews and carefully guarding her personal life. The family is close and this was one of the reasons Machel was reluctant to marry Mandela sooner.

Machel is a little disillusioned with politics, believing the Mozambican Parliament has not accorded her husband his proper place in history. But she confides she does not like to pass on her frustrations to Madiba.

Their relationship in many ways is like that of any normal couple. They have their lovers' tiffs. Once while I was visiting the Houghton residence, Mandela got up to close a window that was letting in cold air.

Machel said: "Oh, Madiba, relax and sit down, you should let me do that." Mandela tried to defend his position, but eventually gave up, laughing: "Don't fight me now, otherwise Debora will write that I don't believe in the equality of the sexes."
But above all it is a relationship of deep love and respect. They adore each other; Mandela calls her "darling" and seizes every opportunity to express his affection physically.

A woman of grace, elegance, style and deep compassion, Machel is easy to love and admire. She is a fitting first lady for South Africa and an ideal companion for the world's favourite president.
Vital Statistics
Born: October 17 1946, in the southern Mozambican province of Gaza
Defining characteristics: Fiercely independent and compassionate
Favourite people: South Africa's president

Least favourite people: Members of the former South African Defence Force
Family: Seven children, two from her marriage to Samora Machel; five from his first marriage
Likely to say: "I'd love to do that, but I don't have the time"
Least likely to say: "I have the whole day free"