Trevor Khanyile Reports on the Launch of Mandela and Mbeki by Lucky Mathebe
UNISA’s Trevor Khanyile reports on the launch of Mandela and Mbeki: The Hero and the Outsider by Lucky Mathebe:
The launch of Dr Lucky Mathebe’s book, Mandela and Mbeki: The Hero and the Outsider, on 4 June 2012 went a long way towards creating a new discourse and debate in society about the nature and character of political leadership. Dr Mathebe’s book is not a biography – rather, it is a ‘life story’ of Mandela and Mbeki that compares their leadership styles.
Speaking at the book launch on Monday, Dr Lucky Mathebe, a senior lecturer in the Sociology Department, said, “I came to the idea of the book through my own observations – and also through reading a great number of sources such as books, journal articles, press reports, film reviews and, most importantly, archival documents.” He added that these sources were an important influence in some of the characterisations that he has made in the book. “They were also an important influence in some of the conclusions I have made.”
According to the author, “Mandela and Mbeki merit great consideration, not only because of the intrinsic worth of their styles of leadership, but also because they embody something about South African society today.”
Giving a review of the book as a respondent, Prof Dirk Kotzé of Unisa’s Department of Political Sciences said that this is a complex book due to the method of referencing that the author adopted when writing it. “It is a very wide spectrum of concepts that he looks at and it refers to a number of authors from very different backgrounds,” said Prof Kotzé. “The book looks at the factors which influenced the future development of the careers of Mandela and Mbeki and also presents a picture of the period in which they were running the South African presidency. The book, however, is more about President Mbeki rather than President Mandela – the main focus of the book is on President Mbeki and President Mandela is used more as a point of reference.
Another aspect that Prof Kotzé noted about the book is that it relies a lot on existing literature – the author uses existing literature as a backdrop for his story about Mandela and Mbeki. What is different about the book, according to Prof Kotzé, is that the author’s interpretation of the data he has before him is very different. He provides many possible explanations as to why Mandela and Mbeki behaved the way they did.
The public had a chance to view and buy the book which was on display at the venue. The book is published by Unisa Press. – Trevor Khanyile
- Mandela and Mbeki: The Hero and the Outsider by Lucky Mathebe