Tony Leon Keynote Speaker

  • Expert speaker and advisor on Sub-Saharan African trends and strategy
  • Leader of the Opposition in the South African Parliament (1999-2007)
  • Critically acclaimed author, "Opposite Mandela" and "Future Tense: Reflections on My Troubled Land" 2021

Tony Leon's Biography

Tony Leon was Leader of the Opposition in the South African Parliament, where he represented the Democratic Party and the Democratic Alliance.  He is currently chairman of Resolve Communications and syndicated columnist for the Times Media Group.

Tony became leader of the Democratic Party in 1999, after holding a series of senior roles in the party. In particular, he was among the key negotiators of South Africa’s new constitution (1992-93). As leader of the Opposition in the South African Parliament, he developed a reputation as a thoughtful critic of the ruling ANC, challenging the government on its policies on poverty, unemployment, and its strategy for dealing with South Africa’s AIDS epidemic.

Tony’s political career began when he took up an organising role with the liberal, anti-apartheid Progressive Party. After qualifying as an attorney and working as lecturer in Law at the University of Witwatersrand, his first entry into parliamentary politics came in 1989, when he was elected an MP for the Democratic Party (the successor to the Progressive Party).

After his retirement from his role as leader of the Democratic Alliance, Tony was invited by President Jacob Zuma to take up the position of Ambassador to Argentina. Tony served in this position with great distinction until his retirement from the role in 2012. HTony’s autobiography “On the Contrary” (2009) received critical acclaim and a number of prestigious awards, including the Recht Malan Prize (2009). He is also the author of “Opposite Mandela: Encounters with South Africa’s Icon” (2014), a book of unique insight into an unexplored aspect of the presidency and leadership of Nelson Mandela.

His most recent book is ‘Future Tense: Reflections on My Troubled Land’ published March 2021.  Of the book, Niall Ferguson said ‘Anyone who wants to understand South Africa today – a country so beautiful, yet so broken – simply has to read this book.’

Tony has held visiting fellowships at Harvard University (2007) and Cato Institute (2008), and has written for TIME Magazine and The Daily Telegraph.

Read More

Videos of Tony Leon

An interview with Tony Leon (2013)
An interview with Tony Leon (2013)
On Opposition Politics (2013)
On Opposition Politics (2013)

Books by Tony Leon

Future Tense: Reflections on My Troubled Land

Check Tony Leon's speaking availability and fees

Interested in booking Tony Leon to speak at an event? Please provide your details and we’ll get in touch within 24 hours.

    View our related Speakers

    Karen Attiah Speaker
    Exclusive
    Karen Attiah
    Opinion Columnist, Global Opinions Editor - The Washington Post
    Martin Sandbu Speaker
    Exclusive
    Martin Sandbu
    European Economics Commentator, Financial Times
    Simon Kuper Speaker
    Simon Kuper Speaker
    Exclusive
    Simon Kuper
    Expert on the Business of Football
    James O'Shaughnessy Speaker
    Exclusive
    James O'Shaughnessy
    Senior Partner, Newmarket Strategy and Conservative Peer in the House of Lords
    Bill Emmott Speaker
    Exclusive
    Bill Emmott
    Writer and Consultant on International Affairs
    Janan Ganesh Speaker
    Exclusive
    Janan Ganesh
    Leading Commentator on Politics in the US and the UK
    Andy Coulson Speaker
    Exclusive
    Andy Coulson
    Former Editor, News of the World & Former Director of Communications, Downing Street
    Radek Sikorski Speaker
    Exclusive
    Radek Sikorski
    Senior Statesman and Expert in Geopolitics
    Jeremy Warner Speaker
    Exclusive
    Jeremy Warner
    One of Britain's foremost financial, economic and business journalists
    George Parker Speaker
    Exclusive
    George Parker
    Political Editor at The Financial Times

    We use cookies

    We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our website, to show you personalized content and targeted ads, to analyze our website traffic, and to understand where our visitors are coming from. By browsing our website, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies.

    Accept Cookies