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

    Thomas J. Wright Speaker
    Thomas J. Wright Speaker
    Exclusive
    Thomas J. Wright
    Incisive analyst of geopolitics and foreign policy
    Ryan Hass Speaker
    Ryan Hass Speaker
    Exclusive
    Ryan Hass
    Top Level Adviser on International Relations - US and Asia
    Gideon Rachman Speaker
    Exclusive
    Gideon Rachman
    Chief Foreign Affairs Commentator, Financial Times
    DJ Patil Speaker
    Exclusive
    DJ Patil
    U.S. Chief Data Scientist (2015-2017); Chief Data Scientist, LinkedIn (2008-2011)
    Bill Emmott Speaker
    Exclusive
    Bill Emmott
    Writer and Consultant on International Affairs
    Jonathan Hill Speaker
    Exclusive
    Jonathan Hill
    Expert on the EU's financial services industry
    Ed Jones Speaker
    Exclusive
    Ed Jones
    Former Chief of Staff to the UK Foreign Secretary
    Jeremy Hunt Speaker
    Exclusive
    Jeremy Hunt
    Longest serving UK Secretary of State for Health
    Dr John C. Hulsman Speaker
    Exclusive
    Dr John C. Hulsman
    Top Geopolitical Analyst
    Andy Coulson Speaker
    Exclusive
    Andy Coulson
    Former Editor, News of the World & Former Director of Communications, Downing Street