Former president Thabo Mbeki. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - Former president Thabo Mbeki’s presidential library has already secured the archives of Ghana’s independence leader Kwame Nkrumah.

Mbeki announced the major coup at the Lyric Theatre in Gold Reef City, south of Johannesburg, after legendary pianist Abdullah Ibrahim and his Ekaya septet performed as part of raising funds for his presidential library.

”I must say that there are other people who will be referred to this from elsewhere on the continent who felt so inspired by what we as South Africans have decided to do that they thought that they must bring their own archives here. One result of that is that we’ve got Kwame Nkrumah’s archives with us,” he said.

Mbeki said he was certain there were others on the continent who will do the same and that this was happening due to the value the rest of the continent attaches to South Africans.

He said the archives should be in Ghana but instead the family of Ghana's first post-independence leaders had chosen South Africa.

”I think that’s a demand on us not to betray the continent,” Mbeki said.

He described the combination between the library, Ibrahim and Ekaya as extraordinary and a meaningful coming together.

”We, all of us, decided we must do something about our memory as a people, in part because we don’t want other people to define us. We must tell our own stories and interpret our own stories. That’s why this library is important,” he said.

According to Mbeki, it was particularly important to establish the library given the challenges faced by the country.

Ibrahim and Ekaya will perform at another fundraising concert for the presidential library at the Life Church Sea Point in Cape Town on Friday night.

Political Bureau