A collection of 45 essays, The Thabo Mbeki I Know, was recently published by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation on SA’s former president between 1999 and 2008. The authors include prominent African leaders, politicians, diplomats, academics and friends. All the authors note Mbeki’s sharp mind, depth of analysis and commitment to the anti-apartheid struggle; many describe his calmness and listening skills, honed from the mentorship of Oliver Tambo; and most bemoan his tragic fall from power. Ugandan academic Mahmood Mamdani’s eccentric foreword recognises Mbeki’s statesmanship and his role in negotiating an end to apartheid. But, rather bizarrely, he argues that Mbeki’s HIV/AIDS policy was a success and talks of his ousting as a "regime change" conspiracy. Three African statesmen then assess Mbeki’s legacy. Nigeria’s former military and civilian ruler, Olusegun Obasanjo, closely observed Mbeki’s contributions to the anti-apartheid struggle while Mbeki served as head of the ANC office in Nige...

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