The Thabo Mbeki Foundation (TMF) regularly receives requests from South Africans and others in Africa and abroad asking President Mbeki to comment or speak on a whole variety of issues.
Some of these communications request that President Mbeki should comment on matters which arose during the years he served in our country’s Presidency. These include direct criticisms that were and have been made over the years concerning his own personal conduct in Government.
In this regard some of our interlocutors have expressed concern that if the negative things repeatedly said about him and the Governments he led are false, the failure to correct them is to allow these to become established as historical truths.
The younger among those who communicate this view have also insisted that President Mbeki’s failure to tell his story is denying them access to experience they need as they try to develop themselves as ‘change agents’.
More recently this observation has also come from other Africans outside our country.
These have pointed to what they describe as a growing concern they have that our Continent, Africa, is beginning to drift without the necessary assertive leadership.
These therefore focus on asking President Mbeki to communicate his views about the question of leadership in general, including by giving examples from and about his personal experience.
We have, as the TMF, discussed these matters with our Patron, President Mbeki. We have debated our view with him in this regard, that we believe that it is necessary for him to respond positively to the many requests the TMF has received, as we have indicated.
We have said this to him knowing that what is being asked of him by our interlocutors would be matters he would reflect upon in the Memoires he has agreed to write.
We have nevertheless thought that it would be right and proper, given the heartfelt appeals made by many who hold him in high esteem, especially the young, that he should respond to these appeals.
I am very happy to announce that President Mbeki has now agreed to write a few articles which, as requested, will discuss some of the critical comments that have been made about him and his Presidency.
He hopes that these articles will help to address the matter of how he sought to exercise his leadership in general, including when he and his colleagues were faced with particular challenges.
Our hope, as the TMF, is that these articles will go some way towards responding to the many requests we have received from our interlocutors, including by providing a basis to draw some conclusions about the issue that has been raised concerning the exercise of leadership.
We will post the articles weekly on the TMF website, the TMF Facebook, TMALI website, TMALI Facebook and Twitter Accounts page. The first of these will be posted on January 11, 2016.
Issued by Max Boqwana, CEO,Thabo Mbeki Foundation