A flurry of congratulatory messages yesterday marked former president Thabo Mbeki’s 76th birthday, with his foundation inundated and social media abuzz with well-wishes.
Describing Mbeki’s birthday as “a milestone”, the ANC said the party “will eternally appreciate former president Mbeki’s unrelenting allegiance to the ANC as well as selflessly giving of himself to the AU (African Union) and other multilaterals when called on to provide wisdom in conflict-ridden countries as their envoy.
“The masses of our people will never forget the contribution he made to our liberation struggle as well as the positive gains on our economy during his leadership of the country,” said ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe.
The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) said Mbeki remained “one of Africa’s influential statesmen, a critical thinker, a visionary leader as well as a selfless revolutionary and a disciplined cadre”.
“His contribution towards the African renaissance has inspired Africans … to strive for unity as well as reclaim with pride early civilisation in mathematics, architecture, science, arts, literature, music, including the rich cultural heritage that has distinguished Africa as the cradle of humankind,” said Sanco national executive committee member Motlalepula Rosho.
She said Mbeki’s tenure as president was characterised by constitutionalism, political as well as economic stability and strong institutions.
She said his ethical leadership “kept corruption at bay and he set up structures to tackle it.”
“In addition to the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (Tmali), Mbeki could still make a contribution towards the country’s development by supporting current President Cyril Rampahosa and the ANC.”
Sanco, she said, wanted Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe “and other veterans of our struggle for liberation” to play a role in Ramaphosa’s Thuma Mina (send me) campaign.
Tmali and the Thabo Mbeki Foundation wrote on social media: “Happy 76th birthday… We wish him good health and boundless energy.”
“Whenever I get time alone, I watch the fourth Mandela lecture. I am yet to hear any lecture that will top what TM (Thabo Mbeki) delivered on the day,” wrote Clement Makhaloa.
The Mbeki Foundation has asked members of the public to share their favourite photographs taken with the former president by tagging the institution to #ThaboMbeki76.
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