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Thabo Mbeki Biography, Age, Wife, Political Career & Books

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Thabo Mbeki is a South African politician who served as the second post-apartheid President of South Africa. He served under the African National Congress from 1999 till 2008 when he resigned. His term as president is filled with mixed reactions, some praising it and others criticizing it.

Thabo Mbeki

Thabo Mbeki Age

Mbeki was born on the 18th of June 1942 in Mbewuleni village in Cape Province. He is 77 years old as of 2019.

Thabo Mbeki Early Life 

He was the second of four children born to his parents, Epainette and Govan Mbeki. His parents were both teachers and activists in a rural area of strength to the African National Congress.

His father was a long-time leader of the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party. He fought for the elimination of apartheid in South Africa and was later imprisoned with Nelson Mandela from 1964 till 1987.

Mbeki was exposed early to politics by his father and he describes himself as being “born into the struggle”

Thabo Mbeki Education 

He had his primary school education in Butterworth and Idutywa. He went on to Lovedale Missionary Institute for his secondary education but was expelled from school as a result of student strikes and forced to continue his studies at home. He still sat for the matriculation examinations at St. John’s High School, Umtata that year.

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He completed A-level examinations in Johannesburg and went on to the University of London where he obtained a degree in Economics. He also obtained a Master’s degree from the University of Sussex making him the first Black South African with a distinction in Economics.

Thabo Mbeki Wife and Child 

When Mbeki was 16 years old, he had a child named Monwabise Kwanda with his high school sweetheart Olive Mphahlwa in 1959.  Thabo had to pay a penalty for making an under-age girl pregnant and he gave five head of cattle. Monwabise Kwanda later disappeared in 1981 with Thabo’s youngest brother Jama.

On 23 November 1974, Mbeki married Zanele (née Dlamini) at Farnham Castle in the United Kingdom. They have no children together.

Thabo Mbeki Political Positions

  • 1999 – 2008: President of South Africa.
  • 1994 – 1999: Deputy President, Department of Agriculture
  • 1993 – 1997: National Chairman of African National Congress
  • 1989 – 1994: Department Head of International Affairs, ANC
  • 1989 – 1993: Head of Department of International Affairs, African National Congress.
  • 1985 – 1994: Member of ANC Political and Military Council
  • 1985 – 1989: Secretary of Presidential Affairs.
  • 1984 – 1989: Director of Department of Information and Publicity, African National Congress.
  • 1978 – 1984: Political Secretary of ANC Women’s League, Lusaka.
  • 1975 – 1978: Representative of African National Congress in Nigeria.
  • 1975: Representative of African National Congress in Swaziland
  • 1975 – 2008: Member of the National Executive Committee, African National Congress.
  • 1973 – 1974: Representative of African National Congress in Botswana.
  • 1971 – 1973: Assistant Secretary of Revolutionary Council, African National Congress in Lusaka.
  • 1961 – 1962: Secretary of African Students Association
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Thabo Mbeki Books

  • 2016: My Own Liberator: A Memoir
  • 2005: Africa’s season of hope
  • 2003: Letters from the president
  • 2002: Africa Define Yourself.
  • 2001: Is there a national agenda and who sets it?
  • 1999: A nation at work for a better life
  • 1999: Democracy and renaissance in Africa
  • 1998: The African Renaissance: Challenges of Development and Security in the New Millennium.
  • 1998: Africa The Time Has Come
  • 1995: Is there a national agenda and who sets it?

Recognitions

1994: Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from the Arthur D Little Institute, Boston.

1995: Honorary Doctorate from the University of South Africa

— Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Sussex University.

1997: Good Governance Award in 1997 by the US-based Corporate Council on Africa.

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1999: Honorary Doctorate from Rand Afrikaans University.

2000: Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Glasgow Caledonian University.

— Newsmaker of the year award from Pretoria News Press Association.

— Oliver Tambo/Johnny Makatini Freedom Award

2001: Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB).

2003: Peace and Reconciliation Award at the Gandhi Awards for Reconciliation in Durban.

2004: Honorary Doctorate in Commercial Sciences by the University of Stellenbosch.

Good Brother Award by Washington, D.C.’s National Congress of Black Women

2005: City of Athens Medal of Honour by Mayor of Athens, Dora Bakoyannis.

— Sudan’s Insignia of Honour in recognition of his role in resolving conflicts and working for development in the Continent.

— The United Nations also awarded him the Champion of the Earth Award.

— Rotterdamse Jongeren Raad (RJR) Antidiscrimination Award by the Netherlands.

2006: Presidential Award for his outstanding service to economic growth and investor confidence in South Africa and Africa.

2007: Knight of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town.

— Mbeki was awarded the Confederation of African Football’s Order of Merit for his contribution to football on the continent.

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