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Unisa Press

Mandela & Mbeki – The Hero and the Outsider

Mandela & Mbeki – The Hero and the OutsiderPublished by Unisa Press, first edition, first impression

Author:

Lucky Mathebe

Published:

February 2012

ISBN:

978-1-86888-660-9

Number of pages:

354 Pages, Paperback

Prices:

South Africa: R280 (incl VAT) | Africa: R286 | USD: $37 | GBP: £15 | Euro: €20


About the book

Mandela & Mbeki: The Hero and the Outsider presents a comparative historical study of the narrative of Mandela and Mbeki and its grip on the South African imagination. A persistent theme among historical narratives of South African presidential politics was that Mandela is a ‘hero’, and that his style embodied an inclusive approach. His former deputy and successor, on the other side, was regarded a little harshly as a ‘prince’.

This book is concerned with the historical contexts in which these two narratives were centred, and takes the reader on a journey of what South African history could look like when Mandela, a character of legend, is cast in the role of an introverted ruler, and Mbeki as manifesting the sense of an outsider. Mbeki had a reputation for being ‘an opinionated foreigner’ in his country’s present politics of avant-gardism and universalism.

The author presents a picture of the period 1912–2008 and organises his account around a number of themes of current interest: the ‘invention’ of traditions and modern nations, Black Consciousness, the ANC, the PAC, the working class, and the middle class. He writes a stimulating account with a great deal of interesting detail, taking the debate about his two protagonists beyond the ‘orthodox’ platform to which it had been taken in the mid-1990s. Lucky Mathebe sets out to demonstrate, on the one hand, that Mandela’s legend amounts to a great deal more than the surge of his charisma, and that his Republicans’ avant-gardism did much to make him the leader he became. On the other hand, he demonstrates that Mbeki was a pragmatist and a ‘hyphenate’ leader, both by custom and by principle, and was historically programmed by his exile past into the primordialist he became.

Contents

Acknowledgements vii
Preface ix
Mandela and Mbeki: Two great lures for ‘Republicans’

CHAPTER 1
What is ‘greatness’ exactly?
The peculiarities of Mandela and Mbeki

CHAPTER 2
What makes ‘Republicans’ Republicans?
‘We would still have chosen Frank and Lucille!’

CHAPTER 3
When Mandela and Mbeki descend wildly into ‘novelistic’ fiction
‘Imagined communities’ and the stereotypes of Calpurnia and Julius Caesar

CHAPTER 4
‘Who first’ and who is the ‘martial captain’ of the class?
Of the ‘commoners’ and ‘bourgeois’ people

CHAPTER 5
‘This thing of us is more than a comrades’ club’
The ‘medieval’ mentality of the ANC

CHAPTER 6
‘The Prince William inheritance’ of Thabo Mbeki
‘Oh by the way, I have decided that you will be my Deputy President’

CHAPTER 7
‘Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t’
‘Hyphenation’, ‘dehyphenation’, and the ‘modern presidency’

CHAPTER 8
Stuck on the wrong and right side of history
Why Mr Mbeki lost his Presidency and why Mr Mandela did not

CHAPTER 9
Reflections on the problems of paternal power and nostalgia
Why Mr Mbeki was clearly a ‘patriarchalist’ and why Mr Maldela
was clearly a ‘Republican’.

List of sources 321
Index 329