Thabo Mbeki

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Thabo Mbeki

Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki (June 18, 1942; Idutywa) is a South African politician, president of the country between 1999 and 2008.

Born in the Transkei region of South Africa (Xhosa ethnic group), Mbeki is the son of Epitanette and Govan Mbeki (1910 – 2001), both teachers. His parents were activists of the African National Congress (ANC) being his father, in addition, unconditional Communist Party of South Africa. Mbeki has a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Sussex. During the apartheid era he was taken prisoner and had to spend several years in exile in the United Kingdom, returning to his country after the liberation of Nelson Mandela.

Mbeki has been a member of the ANC since he was 14 years old, having been his representative abroad since 1967. He was appointed head of the ANC information office in 1984 and of his international affairs office in 1989. He was elected deputy of South Africa in May 1994, when the first elections were held with universal suffrage. He was elected Nelson Mandela’s successor as president of the ANC in December 1997 and as President of the republic after the 1999 elections (taking office on June 16); He was re-elected for a second term in April 2004.

Mbeki has led the creation of the economic program NEPAD and the African Union and has had great influence on the peace negotiations in Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has been one of the standard bearers in spreading the concept of the African Renaissance.

During the negotiations following the liberation of Nelson Mandela, which finally led in 1994 to the first elections with universal suffrage in South Africa, Mbeki was the person in charge of the economic part of these negotiations. In the end, the concessions made during these economic negotiations, led to the fact impossibility to implement the promises made by the African National Congress of redistribution of wealth, leaving most of the country’s wealth in the hands of its former owners, whites who for years amassed these riches thanks to apartheid.

In September 2008 he coerced the liberation leader of neighboring Zimbabwean Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) to accept a national unity agreement with President Robert Mugabe, considered by his opponents a dictator and responsible for countless crimes against humanity.

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