The Mozambican National Women’s Day is annually observed on April 7. It marks the anniversary of Josina Muthemba Machel’s death in 1971 — the activist who fought for the emancipation of African women, specifically Mozambican women, in the liberation struggle.
The holiday celebrates the rights of women in Mozambique and the struggle they’ve gone through to gain them.
History of Mozambican National Women's Day
Josina Machel was the second wife of Samora Machel, the first president of Mozambique. She will always be known for her dedication to Mozambique’s War of Independence and her contribution to the struggle for the liberation of women. She was born Josina Abiathar Muthemba on August 10, 1945 in Vilankulo.
When she was 19, she left Mozambique to join the Mozambican Liberation Front (FRELIMO) in Tanzania, where they fought against the Portuguese colonial regime. She rose within FRELIMO quickly and became one of 25 young women to undergo three months of military training for the Mozambique guerrilla war. She was put in charge of the Women’s Section in FRELIMO’s Department of International Relations, and in 1969, she was appointed head of FRELIMO’s Department of Social Affairs. In this role, she created childcare and educational centers in northern Mozambique and advocated for the importance of sending girls to school.
In 1969, she married Samora Machel. A year later, she fell ill and was taken to Moscow for medical attention — the diagnosis was liver cancer. The doctors advised bed rest, but Josina was undeterred. She continued her efforts until she passed away in 1971 at 25. FRELIMO declared April 7 National Women’s Day in Mozambique a year later. It also established the National Organization of Mozambican Women as the movement’s social and political arm for women. The organization continued to work towards women’s emancipation following Mozambican independence in 1975.
Mozambican National Women's Day timeline
Josina Abiathar Muthemba and her twin brother are born in Mozambique.
She goes to Tanzania and joins FRELIMO in the liberation struggle against the Portuguese colonial regime.
Machel is put in charge of the Social Affairs Department by FRELIMO.
Machel discovers she has incurable liver cancer.
In April, Machel falls very ill and passes away.
Mozambican National Women's Day FAQs
What is Women's Day in Mozambique?
Women’s Day is an official holiday in Mozambique that celebrates women’s rights.
Why do we celebrate National Women's Day?
We celebrate National Women’s Day to honor the achievements of women, particularly their cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements.
Who started International Women's Day?
The United Nations General Assembly created International Women’s Day in 1975.
How to Observe Mozambican National Women's Day
Attend an event
Attend an event celebrating Mozambican National Women's Day. You can even host your own!
Learn more about Josina Machel
Take some time to visit the library or go online to research Josina Machel’s history. She is an inspiration.
Treat the women in your life
Spoil and treat the women in your life as a tribute to Mozambican National Women's Day. You could start by taking your girlfriend or girlfriends out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner — whatever floats your boat.
5 Interesting Facts About Mozambique
Most Mozambican people are under 17
About 50% of the Mozambican population consists of young adults and children.
Mozambique’s main export is prawns
Mozambique exports thousands of tons of prawns every year.
Mozambican people speak 80 languages
More than 80 languages are spoken in Mozambique.
Mozambique borders six other countries
Mozambique borders six countries: Malawi, South Africa, Eswatini, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
It has the oldest European building
The chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte — built in 1522 — is believed to be the oldest European building in the southern hemisphere.
Why Mozambican National Women's Day is Important
It’s dedicated to women
Mozambicans are some of the most inspirational women worldwide. The Mozambican National Women’s Day honors their tenacity and will.
It celebrates Josina Machel
The holiday honors Josina Machel, a role model for the women in Mozambique. She fought for women’s rights for years, and her legacy inspires more women after all this time.
It creates awareness
The Mozambican National Women's Day creates awareness about those who struggled for women’s rights. It also highlights that there is still more to be done for women’s rights in Mozambique.
Mozambican National Women's Day dates