President of the Republic of South Africa
Thabo Mbeki succeeded Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa on June 2, 1999. Prior to his election, Mr. Mbeki had served as the Deputy President of South Africa and as leader of the African National Congress.
President Mbeki, a member of the ANC Youth League since the age of 14, was among those who spent the last decades of the apartheid era in exile.
In the 1990s, Mr. Mbeki headed the ANC’s Department of Internatinal Affairs.
During the 1980s, Mbeki served as the ANC’s head of the department of information and publicity, coordinating campaigns to involve white South Africans in anti-apartheid activities. He is also credited with raising international awareness to the struggle in South Africa by turning the international media against apartheid.
Mr. Mbeki received a Masters degree in economics at Sussex University in London and remained active in student politics, playing a prominent role in building the student sections of the ANC in exile. In the 1970s, President Mbeki also received military training in Moscow.
Mr. Mbeki was born in the Transkei region in 1942, to parents who were members of the African Communist Party and had been arrested, along with Mandela, in the 1960s for their political work.