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Thabo Mbeki is a South African politician best known as the two-term president of South Africa after Nelson Mandela.
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Thabo Mbeki is a South African politician born on June 18, 1942, in Mbewuleni, Idutywa, South Africa. The anti-apartheid supporter rose within the political ranks of the African National Congress. He served two terms as the second president of South Africa after Nelson Mandela. Mbeki's controversial stance that HIV did not cause AIDS is believed to have led to delayed medicines and the deaths of more than 300,000 people in his country.
"We need to look at the question that is posed, understandably I suppose: Does HIV cause AIDS? AIDS the acronym stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Now I do believe that is a sensible thing to ask: Does one virus cause a syndrome? A virus cannot cause a syndrome. A virus will cause a disease."
Thabo Mbeki is a South African politician born on June 18, 1942, in Mbewuleni, Idutywa, South Africa. Mbeki was the second child of Govan Mbeki and Ma Mofokeng. In 1953, a fire destroyed Mbeki's kraal and family shop, prompting his father to migrate to Johannesburg in search of work.
As a young teen in 1955 at Lovedale College, Mbeki developed an interest in politics. He joined several student political organizations, including the African National Congress Youth League at age 14.
In 1961 in Johannesburg, Mbeki met Nelson Mandela, who advised him to further his education outside of the country. Mandela believed Mbeki's life was in danger due to his political beliefs and affiliations. Mbeki left for London and enrolled in the University of Sussex, graduating with a master's degree in economics in 1966.
The next year Mbeki started a job with Communist Party leader Yusuf Dadoo at the African National Congress offices in London. In 1969 he moved to Moscow to study at the Institute of Social Science.
In the '70s Mbeki rose within the ranks at the ANC. The South African government eyed Mbeki as a political foe, and in 1986 hired an assassin to bomb his house. The planned failed after the assassin was spotted and arrested.
Mbeki developed a different philosophy regarding change in South Africa's political structure. In 1990 he persuaded the ANC to stop the armed struggle against the apartheid regime, believing that negotiations, rather than guns, held the key to freedom. That same year he officially returned to South Africa from exile.
Mbeki's rise to political power continued in 1993, when he was elected chairman of the ANC. He addressed the elimination of apartheid at the United Nations. The next year Mbeki was sworn in by Nelson Mandela as the deputy president of the Republic of South Africa of the New Government of National Unity. Later in the year he was appointed deputy president of the African National Congress.
In 1996 Mbeki fired Winnie Mandela as deputy minister, for subordination and abuse of her position. The next year he spoke at the ANC's 50th National Conference to address possible policy changes due to Nelson Mandela's leave from public office. Mbeki was elected the president of the ANC and of South Africa in 1999, and then won a second term as president of the ANC in 2002.
During his time in office, Mbeki's views on AIDS caused much international controversy. He refuted scientific research, stating that AIDS was not caused by the human immunodeficiency virus.
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