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Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute

Patron of TMALI, Mr. Thabo Mbeki


Mr Thabo Mbeki is a thought leader who remains close to visible leadership. His profile as an intellectual, policy shaper and mediator has been built over a lifetime. He is an avid reader who dabbles in poetry, his speech ‘I am an Africa’ being one example of his use of poetry to deliver a very strong message.  He was born in Idutywa, Transkei, in June 1942. He sat for matriculation examinations at St John's High School, Umtata in 1959. He spent his early years in exile studying in Britain. There he completed British ‘A’ level examinations (1960 and 1961) and obtained Master of Economics degree at the University of Sussex in 1966. In recognition of his contribution to society, Mr Mbeki has received honorary degrees from South African and foreign universities, awards from various organisations, orders and decorations from local public and private institutions alike. UNISA awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1996.

Mr Mbeki has served the ANC in various capacities. He joined the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in 1956. He was elected Secretary of the African Students Association in 1961 went into exile in 1962. While in England, he headed the London ANC Youth Section and mobilised the international student community against apartheid. In the 1980s he led ANC delegations to meet with Afrikaner leaders in the United Kingdom, leading to secret talks from 1988 which culminated in the negotiations for a democratic South Africa that took place under the auspices of the Convention for a Democratic South Africa – CODESA.  He served as the second President of post-apartheid South Africa from 14 June 1999 to 24 September 2008.