Thabo Mbeki & The Battle for the Soul of the ANC

by William Gumede

Book cover for Thabo Mbeki & The Battle for the Soul of the ANC

In the space of a single decade, the African National Congress has changed from a party for the poor and oppressed to the political home of the powerful and opulent. Yesterday’s freedom fighters are today’s corporate raiders. Boardrooms are the battleground now. Within the ANC different groups have contrasting backgrounds and political cultures: the exiles, back in Africa after many years in Europe, the USA and UK; the "islanders", a close knit group of former Robben Island prisoners; and the "inxiles", the local political activists who fought apartheid from within South Africa. But transformation comes at a price, and for the urbane Thabo Mbeki, this means nothing less than total loyalty and uncritical support. As both his political adversaries and erstwhile allies have discovered to their cost, the man who followed in Nelson Mandela’s footsteps brooks no opposition, tolerates no dissent. In capturing the ANC’s soul, South Africa’s second black president has stifled its spirit. This book not only explains why and how he has done so, but also offers invaluable insights into the arcane machinations behind political decisions that touch the lives of millions every day. The first detailed analysis of the presidency of Nelson Mandela's successor, and possibly the most powerful man in Africa.

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