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Future Tense

Tony Leon

In 2008, Tony Leon’s award-winning biography On the Contrary concluded with a chapter entitled “Future Imperfect”. Now, in the riveting new Future Tense, the topic and title has changed to capture and analyse the squandered and corrupted years since.

Leon, with unique access and penetrating insight, presents a portrait of today’s South Africa and prospects for its future, based on his political involvement over thirty years with the key power players: Cyril Ramaphosa, Jacob Zuma, Thabo Mbeki, Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk. His close-up and personal view of these presidents and their history-making, and many encounters in the wider world, adds vivid colour to the normal black and white picture painted of a country and planet in upheaval.

Written during the coronavirus lockdown, Future Tense also examines the surge of both the disease and the response, which has crashed the economy and its future prospects, as well as the rise of a dangerous Julius Malema-led populism, and how this echoes global discontent elsewhere.

As the founding leader of the official opposition, Leon also provides an insider view for the first time of the power struggles within that party, which saw the exit of its first black leader in 2019.

There is every reason to fear for the future of South Africa but, as Leon argues, “the hope for a better country remains an improbable, but not an impossible, dream”.


Tony Leon is the author of five books and is the longest serving leader of the official opposition in the Parliament of South Africa since the advent of democracy. He served afterward as South African Ambassador to Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. A qualified attorney and Constitutional Law lecturer, Leon served for twenty years as Member of Parliament and played a leading role in the constitutional negotiations which birthed modern South Africa. He is chairman of Resolve Communications and lives in Cape Town.

Category:  Current Affairs
ISBN:  9781776190744
Publisher:  Jonathan Ball Publishers
On sale:  March 2021
Format:  Paperback
eBook ISBN  9781776190751
eBook: BUY NOW
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