Mark Gevisser (Palgrave Macmillan)

Mark Gevisser is both ingenious and lucky.

He cleverly started his research on a book about the Mbeki clan’s role in South Africa’s liberation struggle as far back as 1999 – the year one of the Mbeki sons, Thabo, became the second president of a democratic South Africa.

And then luck smiled on Gevisser’s project.

When A Legacy Of Liberation was all but ready for the printers at the end of last year, the book’s main character was spectacularly ousted as president by the Jacob Zuma powerbase in Thabo’s beloved African National Congress (ANC).

It is this event that elevates a thorough but rather ordinary piece of research into essential reading.

The book magnifies not only the influences on the developing personality of Thabo in the Mbeki family, his days in exile and the philosophies he embraced as a politician, but also the specific events that led the ANC as a liberation movement to turn its back on the Mbeki legacy.