Happy happy: Twitter hearts Thabo Mbeki on his birthday

Former president Thabo Mbeki celebrated his 71st birthday on Tuesday.

Former president Thabo Mbeki celebrated his 71st birthday on Tuesday.

Has Mbeki's absence from the political landscape made South African tweeters nostalgic or has it given them collective amnesia? Whatever the theory, the social media platform gushed with messages of support and praise for the ousted leader.

Some tweeters couldn't resist comparisons with the current administration, going so far as to claim that no one congratulates President Jacob Zuma on his birthday and that the reception is not as jovial.

In fairness, several tweets were laced with sarcasm and other condemned the former president for his stance on HIV and Aids.




But it seemed like the majority of tweets wishing Thabo Mbeki happy birthday came from a place of praise, tinged with the sepia glow of nostalgia.







Even Julius Malema got in on the action with this tweet:



It's hard to say but at first glance it does seem that many share feelings of loss, longing and loyalty, if only on Twitter.





Despite his reputation for being an astute politcian and an intellect, some took their love for Mbeki quite literally ...







Perhaps the praise for Mbeki was a case of wanting something you can no longer have or maybe time helps us forget the flaws. Singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell said it best: "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot".

Haji Mohamed Dawjee

Haji Mohamed Dawjee

Haji Mohamed Dawjee is the social media accounts director at Ogilvy PR. She was previously the deputy digital news editor and social media editor at the Mail & Guardian. Haji has an honours degree in journalism from the University of Stellenbosch and continues to write columns for the M&G. Read more from Haji Mohamed Dawjee

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