15. Thabo Mbeki: Africa’s Philosopher King

Reviewer: Douglas Yates
Review Publisher: French Journal Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines 
Author: Professor Adekeye Adebajo
Date: April 2020

For those who are old enough to remember, 1990 was the year that South African Prime Minister F. W. Klerk released Nelson Mandela from Robben Island, along with other ANC political prisoners like Walter Sisulu and Govan Mbeki. That last name may not be as familiar as the first. But Govan Mbeki was an important figure in the anti-apartheid struggle. In that same mythic year, Thabo Mbeki (Govan’s eldest son) returned to South Africa for the first time in nearly three decades. It was a reunion of man, father, and country: “In a rare public display of emotion in Cape Town, he stood next to his father and wept, betraying the ‘stiff upper lip’ self-control and stoicism inculcated by his years of English training” (pp. 65-66).

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