Thabo Mbeki


Friday, June 13th, 2014

Do White South Africans constitute a tribe and if so, are they guilty of tribalism?

In a recent article published by Africa is a Country, The Story of a South African “Tribe”, Jared Sacks argues that tribalism is alive and well.  Drawing on Thabo Mbeki’s comments on tribalism in October 2013, he suggests that those really guilty of tribalism are Afrikaaners and the English who practice a sophisticated incognito kind

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Nelson Mandela’s Humanity was a Political Education

If you became politically aware in the late 1970s, you became aware of a world in which no greater sustained evil existed than apartheid. There were other horrors, of course, but apartheid was insidious, entrenched, and total....

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Why would the BBC care what FW de Klerk thinks?

Reporting on President Jacob Zuma’s landslide re-election as leader of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday, the BBC sought the opinion of former apartheid ruler F. W. de Klerk. De Klerk “… told the BBC...

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Waiting for Superman*

South Africa’s Mail & Guardian reported a few days ago that the secretary of Shabir Shaik (the Jacob Zuma associate comvicted of fraud) once testified in court that her boss “has to carry a jar of Vaseline...

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Timbuktu: whatever happened to the African Renaissance?

Mali in the rainy season has its own rhythm, especially in the South: long days under heavy skies anticipating rain; moments when it comes so powerfully the world seems ready to end. Afterwards, a peculiar freshness and...

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Behind the Rainbow

If you’re in the US tonight and you’re close to a TV, watch Egyptian filmmaker Jihan Al-Tahri’s documentary film, “Behind the Rainbow” (trailer above), about  the years between the South African ANC’s unbanning in 1990, the taking...

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Apartheid Reparations

Democracy Now! in New York City reports last week on the historical case in a New York City court by black victims of white minority rule in South Africa (not everyone bought the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s...

Monday, November 9th, 2009


On the even of South Africa’s second democratic election in 1999 as Nelson Mandela made way for Thabo Mbeki, both foreign and South African media outlets could not contain themselves with the “What happens After Mandela?” questions....

Friday, October 30th, 2009


Thabo Mbeki, the former South African President who is an avowed AIDS denialist, must be happy with the latest rant of Rush Limbaugh, the nutty rightwing radio talk show host (he who is beloved by US Republicans...

Monday, October 19th, 2009


Remember Mo Ibrahim’s prize for “good governance” awarded annually to an African leader? The winner gets $5 million over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life thereafter. Previous winners have included such prudent politicians as Mozambique’s Joaquim...

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

The poverty of ideas in South Africa

I was forwarded the PR for a new book–edited by William Gumede (author of a recent book on Thabo Mbeki) and Leslie Dikeni (brother of poet Sandile)–on South African intellectual culture. I don’t have more information except...

Monday, August 24th, 2009


Surprise, surprise, 100 days into his tenure as South Africa’s newest President, Jacob Zuma is getting high marks from  the Financial Times. Like everyone else, before April’s elections the FT raised  “the specter of some new heart...