What made Mbeki tick

Justice Malala

Justice Malala

President Thabo Mbeki has dominated the political centre since Nelson Mandela handed over power to him as ANC president in 1997. This week he lost the presidency of the party to Jacob Zuma.

Sowetan looks at some of the things we will miss about him, and some we won't.

Things we will miss about Thabo Mbeki:

l Poetry and its usage in speeches: Mbeki used to write awesome and inspiring speeches which brought poetry, literature and politics together. Remember the beauty of "I am an African"?

l Nice, well-cut suits: Mbeki always presented himself in beautiful, tapered suits that fitted him beautifully. He was not one for the baggy suit and the flowery shirts, but was always beautifully turned out. His one fashion faux pas were those terrible two-coloured shirts that became a feature of the BEE class.

l Letter from the President: Mbeki's weekly missive used to anger, delight and exasperate many of us. Whatever one felt, however, Fridays will not be the same without a quick look into what the president is thinking.

l Clear and undisputed commitment to hard work (at least at a personal level): Mbeki used to work like a demon. It is a trait many South Africans should emulate.

l The African Renaissance: Mbeki brought real pride and vision to the African stage.

Things We Won't Miss:

l The Race Card: Mbeki became increasingly racially-inclined in his arguments and started ascribing all his problems to racists or neo-liberals. He personalised debates and divided people.

l The private jet: Mbeki liked flying so much he was never in the country. The jet should be taken away from him.

l Two-facedness: He kept Stella Sigcau, someone who had taken a R50000 bribe, for years while he managed to find a reason to fire an effective Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge for going on an unauthorised overseas conference.

l Aids: Mbeki's quackery landed us in a mess.