Thabo Mbeki

(b. 1942)

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(1942– )

South African politician. Elected executive Deputy President in the country's first free elections in 1994, he became President of South Africa in 1999 after Nelson Mandela's retirement. Mbeki was a student activist in the African National Congress in the 1960s and was imprisoned by the Pretoria regime for his activities. He worked in the ANC's London information offices, undertook military training for its armed wing Umkhonto We Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”) in the Soviet Union, and represented the organization in other African countries in the late 1970s. He was elected ANC national chairman in 1989 and was a leading negotiator in CODESA (Commission for a Democratic South Africa), the body established by F. W. de Klerk to oversee the transition from apartheid to multiparty democracy. Long regarded as the natural successor to Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa, he succeeded Mandela as leader of the ANC in 1997.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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