Rio de Janeiro
Rosangela da Silva, a sociologist and left-wing activist who married Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in May, has promised to give new meaning to being first lady if her husband wins Brazil’s election. “I am as in love as if I were 20 years old,” the former two-term president has said of his wife, a long-time member of the Workers Party.
He is 76, she 56. This age difference seems to have breathed new life into Lula, a leftist icon in Brazil. He was deeply saddened by the 2017 death of Marisa Leticia, his wife of 30 years, with whom he has four children. His first wife, Maria de Lourdes, died in 1971.
“When you lose your wife, and you think, well, my life has no more meaning. Then suddenly, this person appears who makes you feel like you want to live again,” Lula told Time magazine in an interview published in May. Rosangela da Silva was born in the south of Brazil and earned a sociology degree from the university in Curitiba, capital of Parana state. She worked there for 20 years for Itaipu Binacional, a public utility that runs the Itaipu dam, one of the world’s biggest.
In 1983 she joined the Workers Party, which Lula had co-founded two years earlier.”I want to give new meaning to the role of first lady, by focusing on topics that are priorities for women, such as food insecurity or domestic violence,” she said last month. Since the Supreme Court vacated Lula’s conviction in early 2021, allowing him to run for president again, Janja has traveled with him often, including to other countries.
She was one of the stars of his campaign kickoff on May 7, playing a new version of the song that was his signature tune during his first presidential campaign in 1989. And she is helping to organize a campaign event on Monday bringing together celebrities, intellectuals, social activists and top Brazilian musicians.—AFP