Motlanthe, Kgalema Petrus

Motlanthe, Kgalema Petrus

(kälā`mä, mōtlän`tā), 1949–, South African politician, b. Johannesburg. A fierce opponent of apartheidapartheid
[Afrik.,=apartness], system of racial segregation peculiar to the Republic of South Africa, the legal basis of which was largely repealed in 1991–92. History
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, he was influenced by Steve BikoBiko, Steve
(Steven Biko) , 1946–77, South African political leader. A medical student, he founded (1969) a black student organization and developed a national "black consciousness" movement to combat racism and apartheid policies.
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 and organized student protests and joined the militant wing of the African National CongressAfrican National Congress
(ANC), the oldest black (now multiracial) political organization in South Africa; founded in 1912. Prominent in its opposition to apartheid, the organization began as a nonviolent civil-rights group.
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 (ANC). Motlanthe was jailed for almost a year in 1976 and the following year was convicted of terrorism and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on Robben Island, where he served alongside Nelson MandelaMandela, Nelson Rolihlahla
, 1918–2013, South African statesman. He earned a degree (B.A., 1943) after being expelled from the University College of Fort Hare (for taking part in a student protest) and finishing his studies with the Univ.
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 and Jacob ZumaZuma, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa,
1942–, South African political leader, b. Indkandla, Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) prov. Zuma received no formal schooling and joined the African National Congress (ANC) when he was 17, becoming active in the party's military wing in 1962.
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. Upon his release (1987), he joined the National Union of Mineworkers, became a skilled negotiator, and in 1992 was named leader of the powerful union. He was elected secretary-general of the ANC in 1997 and became its deputy president a decade later. When Thabo MbekiMbeki, Thabo Mvuyelwa
, 1942–, South African political leader. Mbeki was born into a politically active family; his father, Govan Mbeki, an official with the African National Congress (ANC), was imprisoned (1964) at Robben Island along with Nelson Mandela, released (1987),
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 stepped down as South Africa's president in 2008 while Zuma was embroiled in accusations of corruption, Motlanthe was named the nation's interim president. He served until May, 2009, when Zuma was elected president; Motlanthe then became South Africa's deputy president. Motlanthe challenged Zuma for the ANC chairmanship in 2012 but lost.