Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki is a former president of South Africa.
South African politician served two terms as the second post-apartheid President of South Africa from 14 June 1999 to 24 September 2008. On 20 September 2008, he announced his resignation after being recalled by the African National Congress's National Executive Committee.
Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki came to power in 1999. Mbeki was born and raised in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Mbeki is a native Xhosa speaker and the son of Govan Mbeki. Govan Mbeki (1910-2001, was a valued member of the African National Conference (ANC) and the South African Communist Party. Mbeki's parents were both activists and teachers in a rural area of ANC strength.
Mbeki describes himself as born into the struggle. Govan Mbeki insisted that his children make the ANC their family. Thabo Mbeki followed this instruction and joined the ANC when he was 14 years old. Mbeki attended Lovedale High School but was expelled for involvement in the student strikes of 1959. Despite his expulsion Mbeki was ambitious and continued his studies at home. He wrote his matriculation at St. John's high School in Umata that same year.
Mbeki later left the Eastern Cape to live in Johannesburg working along side Walter Sisulu. After the imprisonment of Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela, and his father;Govan Mbeki, Thabo fearing a similar fate went to the United Kingdom. Mbeki earned a Master of Economics degree from the University of Sussex, and later worked in the ANC's London office on Penton street. Mbeki was one of many ANC militant youth that went abroad to continue their education and anti-apartheid activities. Mbeki spent a total of twenty eight years in exile, returning to South Africa only after Mandela was released.
While in exile Mbeki's responsibilities concerning the ANC increased. Mbeki initiated a radio broadcast from Lusaka that tied ANC followers in South Africa to their exiled leaders. Mbeki encouraged South African activists to keep up the pressure on the apartheid regime. Thabo Mbeki made several trips in the late 1970's to the United States for the purpose of gathering support for the anti- apartheid movement. Mbeki was successful in making many friends in New York City. In 1984 he was appointed Head of ANC's information department. In 1989 he became Head of the international department. Mbeki's new position as Head of the international department required that he report directly to Oliver Tambo, then president of the ANC. Tambo became Mbeki's long-time mentor. Mbeki was also involved in many of the discussions between the ANC and the South African government that eventually led to the democratization of South Africa.
Mbeki succeeded Nelson Mandela as president of the ANC in 1997, and then as president of the republic in 1999. Mbeki was elected for a second term in 2004.
Thabo Mbeki was honoured at the 2012 African Media Leaders Forum in Dakar for outstanding leadership in his efforts to avert war between Sudan and South Sudan.
Sources: Wikipedia/GCIS/SA History Online