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Thabo Mbeki Quotes


Thabo Mbeki
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki
  • Born: 18th June 1942, Idutywa, Eastern Cape, South Africa
  • Alma mater: University of London and University of Sussex
  • Occupation: Politician and second president of South Africa
  • Presidential term: 14 June 1999 – 24 September 2008
  • Political party: African National Congress
  • Exile: After the arrest of his father and Nelson Mandela he spent 28 years in exile, mostly in the U.K. where he studied at university
  • Trivia: His only son Monwabisi Kwanda Mbeki disappeared in suspicious circumstances in 1976 with speculation rife that he was killed by the South African authorities because of his association with the ANC
  • Scroll down for full bio and many great quotes

"Gloom and despondency have never defeated adversity. Trying times need courage and resilience"

Thabo Mbeki

"The strategic task of the ANC is to position the peoples of Africa, and specifically the indigenous South African Africans, as frontline fighters for the creation of a non-racial, democratic, humane and humanist global human society"

Thabo Mbeki

"Many whites, I wouldn't say all, have a particular stereotype of black people. They would deny it, but it's true. They see black people as lazy, basically dishonest, thieving, corrupt"

Thabo Mbeki

"It must be realised that we are in a hurry. We cannot just think, and debate endlessly the pros and cons of any decision. We must act; we have to tackle our problems now"

Thabo Mbeki

"The central challenge we face is dealing with the legacy of apartheid. The white minority political domination has gone. But the rest remains"

Thabo Mbeki

"We should never become despondent because the weather is bad, nor should we turn triumphalist because the sun shines"

Thabo Mbeki

"We do not accept that human society should be constructed on the basis of a savage principle of the survival of the fittest"

Thabo Mbeki

"As Africans, we need to share common recognition that all of us stand to lose if we fail to transform our continent"

Thabo Mbeki

"South Africa now needs skilled and educated people to say 'How do we manage and develop this democratic country?"

Thabo Mbeki

"None dare challenge me when i say i am an Afrikan"

Thabo Mbeki

"A global human society, characterised by islands of wealth, surrounded by a sea of poverty, is unsustainable"

Thabo Mbeki

"The issue of racism and racial prejudice is very, very difficult to discuss. It is difficult to discuss the history of apartheid"

Thabo Mbeki

"For the first time in human history, society has the capacity, the knowledge and the resources to eradicate poverty"

Thabo Mbeki

"Their brains, in terms of what they do with their money, might be somewhere else"

Thabo Mbeki

"Poverty in this country is defined by colour"

Thabo Mbeki

"South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white"

Thabo Mbeki

"By all means, let's work together"

Thabo Mbeki

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Thabo Mbeki Biography

Thabo Mbeki was born into a political family driven by the struggle for independence via the African National Congress (ANC). His father was a staunch communist and a leading member of the ANC who edited its editorial mouthpiece the 'New Age'.

At the start of a crackdown by the apartheid authorities they banned the New Age and its editorial staff were blacklisted in a precursor to the upper echelons of the ANC being arrested. In 1964 Thabo's father Govan Mbeki was imprisoned with the other leaders (Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Raymond Mhlaba, etc..) on charges of terrorism and treason.



The young Mbeki was advised by the ANC to leave the country and go into exile. He spent the next 28 years in exile mainly in the U.K. where he passed his masters degree in economics and only returned to South Africa after the release of Nelson Mandela.

During his exile he organised numerous campaigns and petitions against the apartheid regime and worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the plight of the political prisoners in his native country.

Mbeki succeeded Nelson Mandela in 1999 to become the second president of South Africa, a position which he held for nine years. It was always going to be a hard act to follow Nelson Mandela's foot prints into the presidency but during his tenure the economy grew by 4.5 per cent and the ranks of the black middle class rose considerably.

Statesmen like Mbeki always makes research interesting when sifting through his speeches and press statements, so here is my compilation of 17 of the best Thabo Mbeki quotes

Quotes About Thabo Mbeki

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta welcomed Mbeki's input: "The project you are engaged in is very important to us. Peace and stability are key for the region’s development and prosperity"

Archbishop Desmond Tutu asked Mbeki an awkward question: "What is black empowerment when it seems to benefit not the vast majority but an elite that tends to be recycled?"

The politician Tony Leon said in disbelief: "It is difficult to think of a single other democratic nation in which the head of state descends, with such dogged regularity, into public attacks on individual citizens"

After a critical response from Mbeki Archbishop Tutu responded thus: "Thank you Mr President for telling me what you think of me, that I am a liar with scant regard for the truth and, a charlatan posing with his concern for the poor, the hungry, the oppressed and the voiceless"


Thabo Mbeki image quote