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Learning English - Words in the News
08 January, 2007 - Published 12:08 GMT
Sexwale and the ANC leadership
Tokyo Sexwale
Tokyo Sexwale

South Africa's leading Sunday newspaper, the Sunday Times, has reported that businessman, Tokyo Sexwale, is campaigning to be the new leader of the African National Congress. This report from our Southern Africa correspondent, Peter Biles:

Listen to the story

According to South Africa's Sunday Times, Tokyo Sexwale is projecting himself as a compromise candidate in what could be a messy succession battle within the ANC. The party has been split between those backing President Thabo Mbeki, and the supporters of the deputy leader, Jacob Zuma - who was acquitted after a trial for rape last year, and then had a corruption case against him, thrown out of court.

The Sunday Times says that Tokyo Sexwale - who's not been active in politics for nearly 10 years, is actively campaigning for the ANC presidency, and has had high-level discussions with supporters of both Mr Mbeki and Mr Zuma.

Mr Sexwale is believed to be close to the former president, Nelson Mandela. They were imprisoned together on Robben Island, until their release in 1990. Tokyo Sexwale became the Premier of Gauteng Province in 1994, but went into business four years later.

He's never ruled out a return to politics, and if the latest press reports are accurate, this marks a major development in the forthcoming ANC leadership contest. In the past month, another weekend newspaper has claimed that Tokyo Sexwale has been cutting back his business commitments, with a view to mounting a presidential challenge.

Peter Biles, BBC, Johannesburg

Listen to the words

projecting himself
making himself appear to have a particular quality

a compromise candidate
the person that most people could agree to support even though he may not be exactly who they want

a messy succession battle
a difficult period of time during which the new leader of the ANC will be chosen


high-level discussions
conversations with people who are very important or powerful

close to
(if people are close to each other) they know each other very well and like each other

went into business
began working with companies and organisations

going to happen soon

cutting back

arranging, organising

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