South African President Thabo Mbeki addresses members of Glasgow Caledonian University at South Africa House in London, after his conferment of Honorary Doctorate by the University.
CNN  — 

Here’s a look at the life of former South African President Thabo Mbeki.


Birth date: June 18, 1942

Birth place: Idutywa, Transkei, South Africa

Birth name: Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki

Father: Govan Mbeki, a teacher and politician

Mother: Epainette (Moerane) Mbeki, a teacher

Marriage: Zanele Dlamini Mbeki (1974-present)

Children: With Olive Mpahlwa: Monwabise Kwanda Mpahlwa

Education: University of London, Economics, 1961-1962; University of Sussex, Brighton, UK, M.A. in Economics, 1966

Other Facts

In the past has publicly questioned the connection between HIV and AIDS, minimized the seriousness of the AIDS epidemic and did not support widespread treatment or testing for AIDS.

Mbeki’s father was a leader in the African National Congress.

Was expelled from school as a teenager for organizing a student strike.

His father was in prison with Nelson Mandela.

His son, Monwabise Kwanda Mpahlwa, is believed missing since going into exile in the early 1980’s. Mbeki fathered Mpahlwa at the age of 16, out of wedlock.

Creates the Thabo Mbeki Foundation and the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute following his presidency.


1961-1962 - Youth organizer in Johannesburg for the African National Congress.

1962-1990 - Lives in exile in various countries.

1967-1970 - Official in London for the African National Congress.

1971-1972 - Assistant Secretary to the Revolutionary Council for the African National Congress.

1975-1976 - Acting Representative of Swaziland to the African National Congress.

1975 - Member of the National Executive Committee for the African National Congress.

1976-1978 - Representative of Nigeria to the African National Congress.

1978 - Political Secretary to the Office of the President of the African National Congress.

1984-1989 - Director of Information and Publicity and Secretary of Presidential Affairs for the African National Congress.

1989 - Head of the Department of International Affairs for the African National Congress.

1994-1999 - Executive Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa.

1997-2007 - President of the African National Congress.

June 14, 1999-September 2008 - President of the Republic of South Africa.

2000 - Publicly denies that HIV causes AIDS, alternately blames the disease on poverty and racism.

2002-2003 - Chairman of the African Union.

December 18, 2007 - Mbeki loses his bid for a third term as President of the African National Congress to Jacob Zuma, his former deputy president. Mbeki had dismissed Zuma from the post in 2005 after allegations of corruption and fraud.

January 11, 2008 - African National Congress begins an investigation into Mbeki’s administration, regarding possible wrongdoing committed in a multi-billion rand arms deal in 1999. Mbeki is later exonerated.

July 2008 - Mbeki tries to mediate a peaceful solution to Zimbabwe’s contested election. He suggests the formation of a national unity government.

September 21, 2008 - Announces his resignation as president during a televised address.

March 2009 - Along with two other former African presidents, is appointed chair of the African Union High Implementation Panel, working to solve the crisis in Darfur, Sudan.

February 27, 2017 - Is inaugurated as chancellor of the University of South Africa.