On Saturday the ANC commemorated President Thabo Mbeki's journey to the presidency. Here are some facts about his life:
lThe son of an ANC leader, Mbeki was elected in 1999 to succeed Nelson Mandela as South Africa's second black president.
lMbeki emerged as an intellectual leader who stood his ground despite criticism. The economy has grown under his rule but opponents say he favoured business at the cost of the poor.
lHe was born in June 1942 in the village of Idutywa, Transkei. At 14 he joined the ANC Youth League and at 19 he was told by the ANC to leave the country to be educated and prepared for a leading role.
lHe has a Master's in Economics from England's Sussex University and undertook military training in the Soviet Union, a backer of the ANC's anti-apartheid campaign.
lMbeki was re-elected in 2004 for a second term as president. But in late 2007 he lost the ANC leadership contest to rival Jacob Zuma, now tipped to succeed him as state president next year.
lMbeki this month brokered a deal between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
lBut any credit from the deal was overshadowed when Pietermaritzburg high court Judge Chris Nicholson called off a corruption case against Zuma and said there had been meddling in the affair. Some ANC members said Mbeki should be forced out.
lTragedy has never been far from Mbeki. His father, Govan Mbeki, was jailed for 30 years. His own son, born when he was 16, and his brother, Jama, are missing and presumed killed working against white rule. - Reuters