oa African Yearbook of Rhetoric - Collective leadership during Thabo Mbeki's presidency : a rhetorical perspective

Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2220-2188
  • E-ISSN: 2305-7785



When Thabo Mbeki succeeded Nelson Mandela as the President of a democratic South Africa, there was a generally-held view that he was just what the nascent post-apartheid South Africa needed. Touted as "Africa's Renaissance man", he was determined to make Africa - as a whole - stable, democratic and less poor. The then President of the United States, George W. Bush, once called him America's "point man" in Africa. Conversely, Mbeki's critics described him as enigmatic, aloof and arrogant. Others viewed him as paranoid.

Whether these were accurate characterisations or not, Thabo Mbeki as the President of both the ANC and South Africa left a lasting imprint on the country's political landscape. He is accredited, , with the founding of institutions like the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), and the African Union (AU). His international standing, however, took a knock in 2000 when it emerged that he had questioned the link between HIV and AIDS. He equally courted controversy over his handling of the crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe.

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