Thabo Mbeki will have the last laugh
February 26, 2011 § 6 Comments
I wrote this column last year and it appeared on the Cape Times.
Mbeki has been plotting a great revenge since his resignation. Or as many believe, his ousting from the presidential office, where he didn’t even have time to clear his office and residence according to reverend Frank Chikane’s Chikane Files. After he received his marching orders many thought that he had gone back to the drawing board to plot his revenge. They were right. He was.
Not the kind of man to want to write a biography about himself as former American presidents are prone to, most knew that he wouldn’t be sitting at home doing that. His revenge was far larger than a mere autobiography can master. He would not justify his actions in a book. Instead he was working on a legacy far larger than just the simple act of writing a best selling autobiography. We all know it would have been some great reading. Many of couldn’t wait to read his ANC “blogs” every Friday. They made for some reverting reading.
He has been very quiet since the events of 24 September 2008 when he had to vacate his position as the most powerful man in South Africa. However over the past few weeks we’ve heard a lot about him and the launch of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, which is meant to deal with the implementation of policies for the betterment of Africa. Its main focus is people, to build capacity. This is his revenge.
His revenge would be of continental proportions. A legacy. In fact his revenge started long before even he knew that this would be his revenge. His “I am an African” speech, which made us all proud to be African, was a road map to his mind. If South Africa couldn’t appreciate him, then Africa would. As Jesus said according to the book of Luke 4:24, “I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his hometown,” after he was rejected by his own in Nazareth where he had been brought up. This must have been how Mbeki felt. As he said in a recent interview, jokingly referring to his continental travels perhaps, “Even my wife calls me a visitor when I’m here.”
Now, now I’m not calling him the saviour of Africa nor am I comparing the man to Jesus. The man is a mere man, but his vision for Africa is not a mere vision. Mbeki is a controversial figure because he does at times hold unconventional views, the road less traveled. Some hate him for it. Some love him for it. Sometimes he is right, sometimes he is wrong, when he is wrong we throw stones at him. He is used to it by now.
According to the Mail&Guardian, the idea behind the Thabo Mbeki Foundation is to build capacity and capability to build an Africa that is capable and world class, “We felt that our weakness is people — we don’t have enough people to implement this programme of the African renewal. The foundation would, therefore, assist in developing people to implement policies.” He said. If he can own the minds that will be responsible for the renewal of Africa, surely, he will have the last laugh. He is building a future army for the betterment of the continent.
He may even be long dead or geriatric by the time the continent reaps the benefits of his programme. This reminds me Don Corleone from the Godfather, who set in motion plans that wouldn’t and could not be derailed even after he died.
By being the brains behind the plans to develop people for a noble cause, Africa’s renewal, there will be a new generation of future leaders on the continent who will lay the foundations to his legacy. His stamp on the African continent may not be realized just yet with his new venture, but it will live long after he is gone. This will be his revenge.