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Jonathan Ball

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Book Launch: Thabo Mbeki: The Dream Deferred by Mark Gevisser

The Dream DeferredThabo Mbeki - The Dream Deferred - Cape Town Launch InviteJonathan Ball and Exclusive Books invite you to the launch of a profound psycho-political study of the man who has, in effect, governed South Africa since 1994: Mark Gevisser’s Thabo Mbeki: the Dream Deferred.

In the long shadow of Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki has attempted to forge an identity for himself as the symbol of modern Africa. And yet, as he prepares to leave office in 2009, his legacy remains intensely contested.

What happens to a dream deferred?

This question, from one of Thabo Mbeki’s favourite poems by Langston Hughes, provides the thread for this magisterial biography, both a work of deep scholarship and a gripping, page-turning story. It is a journey into the turbulent history of South Africa and its troubled contemporary soul.

By tracing the path of Mbeki’s life, Thabo Mbeki sheds new light on his political personality and provides unprecedented insight into the dramatic role he has played in South African history. In so doing, it tells the dynastic story of three generations of the Mbeki family, and of the black South African elite over the course of a century: from dispossessed “black Englishmen”, to revolutionaries, to heads of state.

Mark Gevisser brings to life the voices and places that have made Thabo Mbeki: the frontier of the Eastern Cape; “Swinging Britain” and neo-Stalinist Moscow in the Sixties; the fraught world of African exile; the confusion of the transition. He examines the meaning of home and exile, of fatherhood and family, and of Mbeki’s own transition from doctrinaire communism to economic liberalism. He comes to grips with the current political turmoil by examining the history of a man who has carried, on his shoulders, the collective burden of a country seeking to realize a dream too long deferred.

Please join us for the launch.

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