Thabo Mbeki The Dream Deferred
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"What happens to a dream deferred?
This question, from one of President Thabo Mbeki's favourite poems by Langston Hughes, provides the thread for this magisterial new biography. In the long shadow of Nelson Mandela, Mbeki has attempted to forge an identity for himself as the symbol of modern Africa. And yet, as he prepares to leave office in 2009, his legacy remains intensely contested.
This book is both a work of deep scholarship and a gripping, highly readable story. By tracing the path of Mbeki's life, it sheds new light on his political personality and provides unprecedented insight into the dramatic role he has played in South African history.
Mark Gevisser brings to life the voices and places that have made Thabo Mbeki--the frontier of the Eastern Cape; 'Swinging Britain' and neo-Stalinst Moscow in the sixties; the fraught world of African exiles; the confusion of the transition. He examines the meaning of home and exile; of fatherhood and family. He tells the story of South Africa's black elite over a turbulent century--from 'black Englishmen' to revolutionaries to heads of state -- and Mbeki's own transition from doctrinaire communism to economic liberalism. He comes to grips with the current political turmoil by examining the history of a man who has carried, on his shoulders, the collective burden of a country seeking to realise a dream too long deferred."