President Thabo Mbeki considers himself an “Aids dissenter” who allowed the Cabinet to overcome his beliefs that Aids was part of a conspiracy by the white world to destroy black Africans. He urged his biographer, Mark Gevisser, to read a 100 page paper secretly authored by Mbeki several years ago which he distributed anonymously to members of the african National Congress. The paper compared Aids scientists to latter-day Nazi concentration-camp doctors and portrayed b lack people who accepted orthodox Aids science as “self-repressed” victims of a slave mentality. The paper described the HIV/Aids thesis as entrenched in “centuries-old-white racial beliefs and concepts about Africans.” According to Mbeki, whites are trying to convince Africans that HIV/Aids is a major problem in order to divert attention from issues like globalisation, unemployment, and racism. He accused those who opposed his views like Nelson Mandela as being in the pay of drug companies.
There is sadness in describing the insane ideas of a prominent African leader who played a vital role in establishing democracy in South Africa. Somehow, this intelligent man got caught up in conspiracy theories and could not escape the corrosive effects of racism which warped his way of thinking. In the end, it is estimated millions have died due to his refusal to implement an Aids program. Even today, the Aids campaign in South Africa is caught up in controversy since Mbeki’s health minister shares his strange ideas.