UN Women remembers the girl who was “SG for a day”

Date: Monday, March 28, 2016

Raquelina thanked UN Women for receiving her and for all its support in Mozambique. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
Raquelina Langa visited UN Women's Headquarters in New York in August 2014. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

Raquelina Fernando Langa—the promising young woman who came to New York in 2014 to spend a day as UN Secretary-General with Ban Ki-moon—has sadly passed away on 25 March 2016.

Mr. Ban expressed his deep personal condolences, saying: “While her life was short, her legacy will be long. Raquelina was more than a teenager from Mozambique; she was the embodiment of why the world needs to invest in the health, well-being and future of young women everywhere. With her passionate drive and expansive heart, she achieved a depth of character that most people, no matter their age, may never attain.”

Raquelina Langa poses for a photo with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Mark Garten
Raquelina Langa poses for a photo with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Mark Garten

In May 2013, while visiting the Matheus Samsão Muthemba School in Polana Caniço, Maputo, Mozambique, the UN Secretary-General was asked by Raquelina, then in grade 10, if a girl could become Secretary-General and, if so, what she needed to do to achieve that goal. Impressed by the question, Mr. Ban invited her to come to UN Headquarters in New York as his special guest for a day. Sponsored by UN Women, the visit materialized on 12 August 2014, International Youth Day.

“We would like to convey our condolences institutionally, and personally, for those who knew Raquelina,” said Florence Raes, UN Women Representative in Mozambique. “We will continue to honour her memory by pursuing her dream, bringing about broader access to education for girls as well as secure environments free of violence, so that any girl—whether vulnerable, disenfranchised or from the south—could aspire to one day be the United Nations Secretary-General.”

UN Women covered her 2014 visit with this photo essay: https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2014/8/raquelina-langa-visit