Two new books on major political figures – an anthology, The Thabo Mbeki I Know, and biography, Mmusi Maimane – are being published this month ahead of the local government elections on August 3.
The Thabo Mbeki I Know is a collection of viewpoints from contributors who include those who knew Mbeki as a young man, in South Africa and in exile, and those who encountered him as a statesman and worked alongside him as an African leader.
Edited by Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu and Miranda Strydom, The Thabo Mbeki I Know provides readers with an opportunity to reassess the former president’s contribution to post-apartheid South Africa.
Ndlovu is an executive director at the South African Democracy Education Trust, editor, author and Unisa professor of history. Strydom is a journalist who joined the presidential press corps until she left the media industry in 2011 to join the Thabo Mbeki Foundation.
In The Thabo Mbeki I Know, the friends, comrades, statesmen, politicians and business associates provide insights that challenge the prevailing academic narrative and perspectives on the former president’s time in office and on his legacy.
The editors describe this a “vital undertaking as we approach a decade since an embattled Thabo Mbeki left office”.
The biography, Mmusi Maimane, was written by Sunday Times deputy editor S’thembiso Msomi, a political journalist and regular columnist.
In the past five years, Maimane has risen from relative political obscurity to become leader of the DA. His anointment as DA leader made history, marking the first time that this political party had a black leader.
His road has not always been smooth, however, as there are those, even within the party, who have denounced him as nothing more than a puppet dancing to the tune of white masters.
So who is the real Mmusi Maimane? Msomi goes behind the scenes to examine how and why Maimane rose to head the opposition, delving into his formative years, his time in the church and his family, to bring substance to the man.
Finally, the author attempts to answer these burning questions: is Maimane his own man – and can he deliver the electorate that the DA so fervently desires?
The Thabo Mbeki I Know is published by Picador Africa and retails for R300. Mmusi Maimane is published by Jonathan Ball and retails for R200.