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The Accidental Ambassador: From parliament to Patagonia

Former leader of the Democratic Alliance and recently returned ambassador to Argentina Tony Leon speaks about his latest book, ‘The Accidental Ambassador’. Camera: Nicholas Boyd. Editing: Darlene Creamer. Recorded: 10/04/2013

11th April 2013


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'The Accidental Ambassador' follows on from the successful Tony Leon autobiography, 'On the Contrary: Leading the Opposition in a Democratic South Africa' to showcase Leon’s wit and sense of humour as he takes the reader on the journey of his retirement from active political life and into public service as the South African ambassador to Argentina.

From Leon’s ‘Job Interview’ with Jacob Zuma in Tuynhuis in 2009, to his immersion in governmental bureaucracy and a three-week crash course on ‘How to be an Ambassador’ to the strange stance and contradictions of South African foreign policy and life in Argentina, he shares with the reader his entertaining experiences of cultural immersion, comical anecdotes and political reflection. It provides great insight into the behind-the-scenes life of an ambassador.


Until recently, Leon was the South African Ambassador to Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Prior to this appointment he was the leader of the opposition in the parliament of South Africa and of the Democratic Alliance, in addition to being an attorney of the High Court in South Africa and a former lecturer in Law at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He currently writes a weekly column in Business Day, delivers lectures and speeches to CEOs (via FutureWorld and other platforms) and is establishing a consultancy to promote business between Africa and South America.

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