Mandela's Conscience Lives: In Thabo Mbeki

Mandela's Conscience Lives:
In Thabo Mbeki

by Fintan Dunne, 10th December 2013.
[Thabo Mbeki's dissident Aids stance is supported by] "febrile New York journalist Celia Farber; former marketing executive John Lauritsen; Irishman and arch conspiracy theorist Fintan Dunne.."  "The Triumph of Unreason," Mail & Guardian, 19 April 2002. 

When former South African president, Thabo Mbeki arrived to a hero's welcome at the FNB stadium, in Soweto today, for Nelson Mandela's celebration memorial service - he was, in effect, bestowed by the crowd with the mantle of Mandela's Conscience.

They stood to chant "Mbeki, Mbeki," with some making bicycling movements with their arms to signal their desire to 'rotate' away from current ANC leader, Jacob Zuma and his deeply corrupted South African presidency.

Even the notoriously anti-Mbeki, Mail and Guardian's associate editor @phillipdewet had to admit: 

"Well I never. Mbeki just got the loudest, most sustained cheer of any arrival. Including Zuma & Bono."
In fact, president Zuma was jeered as he took the stage. And every time his face appeared on the stadium's large screens it was met by further bicycling movements. Doubtless driven by the ongoing scandal about tens of millions of rand spent on Zuma's lavish presidential 'palace.'

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa skipped Zuma's name in the formal introduction and later admonished the crowd three times in an effort to halt the jeering. The 'fizz' soon left the gathering, along with a substantial portion of the crowd. 

And thus the legacy of Mandela is donned once again by Mandela's own hand-picked successor as South African president: Thabo Mbeki.

Mbeki was ousted in an ANC coup by Zuma in December, 2007. The voting margin then was 60% to Zuma's supporters against Mbeki's 40% backing.

Zuma had backers in high places. Long before that contest Mbeki had privately briefed his ANC suporters that the CIA was moving against him. 

Even as that covert operation progressed, the South African Mail and Guardian newspaper was already waging war on Mbeki over his failure to worship unquestioningly at the altar of Big Pharma's expensive and dubiously effective HIV-AIDS drugs.

Mbeki made the very reasonable case that the science behind HIV-AIDS medications was disputed by many respected medical professionals and scientists. He set up a commission of inquiry and invited the mainstream and dissenting scientists to debate. That's how science works, explained Mbeki. 

Science? Who cares about "science" when profits are the goal?

Not Pharma. Not Zuma. Not the CIA. And definitely not the Mail and Guardian, who (rather ironically) penned a 'hit-piece' on Mbeki, entitled: "The Triumph of Unreason."

As mass media mocked Mbeki, Zuma's people undermined him with promises of power and wealth for the ANC's less principled and more hungry.

And so, feeding on a restlessness for quick economic results, and powered by propaganda within and without South Africa, Zuma eventually toppled Mbeki and promised to line the streets with gold. In the end, he and his core cadre in the ANC lined their own pockets. 

The dream died. South African's mourned it's passing.

Then Mandela died. And South Africans celebrated not just his life, but his ideals!

Then Mbeki walked into the FNB stadium, in Soweto today, and the dream was reborn.

Just two days earlier, in Mbeki's first public speech since Mandela's death, he had asked: 
"Do we have the quality of leadership such as was exemplified by Nelson Mandela... sufficient to respond to the challenges we face?....
The central task is to ensure we do not betray what he and others sacrificed for."
Mbeki warned that transforming South Africa into a truly free, fair and equal society was "in many respects more difficult than the struggle to end the system of apartheid".

In an interview published the same day by the Sunday Independent, he hinted at forming a broad coalition against corruption and in favor of re-enshrining Mandela's ideals:
“...There’s a lot of discussions taking place in the country. It might not be formalized in the sense of a conference…[but,] I think there’s probably a mood in the country in favor of the kind of reflection that I’m talking about"

And I’m quite certain, as I say, that there are enough people in the political parties, in the trade unions, in civil society, in the religious communities, among the youth. People who are raising questions. And I should think that sufficient of a pool of people who would be keen to take up these matters in a more systematic way.."

For South Africa, Mbeki's timely intervention and reminders of its founding principles may offer a pivotal chance to rescue the country from creeping stagnation fueled by disillusion with the ANC's corruption.

Mbeki paid a heavy price for his principled voice of reason on HIV-AIDS. South Africa has found that it too paid an even heavier price for heeding those who deposed him. 

As a supporter; as one who shared both his questioning of AIDS science, and the ire of the Mail and Guardian, I was saddened when greed and a power lacking vision toppled him in 2007.

Today, I rejoice. As South Africa should rejoice!

Mandela's Conscience Lives: In Thabo Mbeki!

Update 12 Dec 2013:


  1. This is one of the most powerfully crafted articles of political journalism I have seen. Absolutely brilliant. What a story! I had (little or no) idea of these developments; Fintan, is this known, even just the part about the cheering for Mbeki when he entered--has this been widely reported in SA or at all outside of SA?

    Great great work. I will spread it far and wide.

    Celia Farber

    1. Thanks Celia.

      Spotty reporting of the incident internationally, but BBC and ITN-C4 did at least report the bare facts. However, where reported outside SA, most omitted the cheers for Mbeki and focused today on a sideshow about the deaf signer for the ceremony.

      Google News search:

      Videos here: and
      The comments on both overwhelmingly anti-Zuma!

      Bloomberg carries the most balanced and detailed international story:

      The usual anti-Mbeki slant is around. See UK Independent:

      This partisan account from SA Pol-Corr Stephen Grootes does at least give the fullest account of events in the stadium:

      This is going around talk radio in SA today, as is the story of the ANC pressuring SABC to cut away from TV shots of the most embarassing of the jeering. Outside SA, in general Mbeki is either being ignored or attacked.

      Mbeki, as ever, if not more than ever, needs all the help he can get.

    2. Thanks Fintan:
      So good to see this being brought out yet again. Sadly, we approached Mandela as best we could as his son was dying supposedly of AIDS. Mandela stood somewhat firmly against Mbeki in this instance and I am not sure just why he did. Perhaps this was political expediency on Mandela's part. It would have been great to have him stand on the side of real science. Just didn't happen.

  2. Controversial take on the Mbeki saga but I believe it is not far from the truth and hopefully not over yet.
    When Mbeki was ousted I felt betrayed for the fact that a handfull of politicians can arrange something like that while I was always under the impression that it is a nation that must decide.

  3. Extended interview with Mbeki on RTE (Irish) radio this morning, including discussion on Aids

    He is twice questioned on Aids and the second time he answers. He is being at least cautious. It's not clear to me if he has any inclination to re-enter the Aids debate, which would be disappointing if he does not.

    Paddy O'Gorman

    Paddy O'Gorman!rii=9%3A20490497%3A48%3A13%2D12%2D2013%3A

    Paddy O'Gorman

  4. sorry folks I was a bit clumsy with the above post, I'm not sure if the link works. To get the Mbeki radio interview, go to, then to realplayer, then radio, then radio 1, then morning Ireland, then within that programme find the Mbeki I/v soon after 8 am this morning.
    Paddy O'Gorman

  5. Excellent! I thought Mbeki had been exiled from the country. I wish him the strength and endurance to carry on.


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