The Dream Deferred
This title is a story about home and exile. It is a story, too, of political intrigue; of a revolutionary movement struggling first to defeat and then to seduce a powerful and callous enemy, of the battle between unity and discord, and the dogged rise to power of a quiet, clever, diligent but unpopular man who seemed to take little joy in power but have much need for it. By the time he retires in 2009, Thabo Mbeki will have ruled South Africa, in effect, for the full fifteen years of its post-apartheid democracy: the first five as Nelson Mandela’s ‘prime minister’ and the next ten as Mandela’s successor. No African leader since the uhuru generation of Nkrumah and Nyerere has been as influential. The author’s long-awaited biography is a profound psycho-political examination of this brilliant but deeply-flawed leader, who has attempted to forge an identity for himself as the symbol of modern Africa in the long shadow of Mandela. It is also a gripping journey into the turbulent history and troubled contemporary soul of the country; one that tries to make sense of the violence of the past and confusion of the present. As Mbeki battles, in the current day, with demons ranging from AIDS to Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and finds his legacy challenged by the ever-growing candidacy of his would-be successor Jacob Zuma, The Dream Deferred tracks us back along the path that brought him here, and helps us understand the meaning of South Africa, post-apartheid and post-Mandela.