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Navel-gazing of leaders sees lofty ideals for Africa go belly up

21 March 2021 - 00:00 By barney mthombothi

In a stirring speech to the National Assembly exactly two decades ago, then president Thabo Mbeki seemed to speak for an entire continent of what he called an "African century" in which Africans themselves would take the initiative in stopping the wars ravaging the continent, eliminating preventable disease, poverty and underdevelopment. In other words, a call for Africans to be masters of their own fate. The "African renaissance" became his catchphrase, a concept that now seems to have gone the way of the dodo...

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