What SA can teach the US once it has got rid of Trump, 'the Mbeki of America'

01 November 2020 - 00:00 By XOLELA MANGCU

My heart sank as I read the opening paragraph of Nikolas Kristoff's New York Times column last Sunday. The article was about Donald Trump's colossal failure of leadership, but began with a comparison with former president Thabo Mbeki: "One of the most lethal leadership failures in modern times unfolded in SA in early 2000s as Aids spread there under President Thabo Mbeki. Mbeki scorned science, embraced conspiracy theories, dithered as the disease spread and rejected lifesaving treatments. His denialism cost about 330,000 lives, a Harvard study found."

Kristoff went on to describe Trump as the "American Mbeki". The parallels are so obvious they hardly need elucidation here, save to say that I felt heartbroken for the country's reputation...

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