Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tony's walk down Memory Lane at Kearsney College, Durban

April 2013| Original Publication:  http://www.kearsney.com

We are delighted to congratulate Tony Leon (1974) on the release of his book The Accidental Ambassador, From Parliament to Patagonia.

 From the ‘Job Interview’ with Jacob Zuma in 2008, a three week crash course on “How to be an Ambassador” to his cultural immersion in everything Argentinean, he will entertain us with his anecdotes and insights.

Tony met sons of fathers he knew at Kearsney
Andrea Nattrass, Pan Macmillan Publisher introduced Tony at his 1st Durban book launch at Adams as follows: "On behalf of Pan Macmillan and Adam’s Bookshop here in Musgrave Centre, I’d like to welcome you to the first KZN launch of Tony Leon’s newly published title, The Accidental Ambassador: From Parliament to Patagonia.

Tony Leon is someone who needs very little introduction. He served as South Africa’s ambassador to Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay from August 2009 to October 2012. Prior to this Tony was a member of the South African parliament for nearly 20 years; for 13 of those leading the Democratic Alliance, making him the longest serving leader of the opposition in parliament since the advent of democracy in 1994. He led and grew his party from its marginal position on the brink of political extinction into the second largest political force in South Africa.

Tony has now returned to South Africa, and is consulting to business, writing a weekly newspaper column for Business Day and, of course, has recently published this, his third book, following on from Hope and Fear: Reflections of a Democrat(1998) and the South African bestseller On the Contrary: Leading the Opposition in a Democratic South Africa (2008).

Elwyn van den Aardweg hosted Tony to tea with Janine O'Connor,
owner of Books & Books http://www.booksandbooks.com/
Pan Macmillan was delighted to be approached by Tony back in early 2012 while he was still based in Buenos Aires to consider publishing the memoir he was writing about his time in the position of ambassador. We expected to read an interesting and informative manuscript, but I have to confess we were completely unprepared for how delightfully humorous and self-deprecating many of Tony’s anecdotes proved to be. From his account of somehow losing his own socks on the aeroplane en route to Argentina and having to go through his official welcoming ceremony trying to hide the “vomit yellow” airline socks he was forced to wear, through to his discussions of the ageing lift system at his official residency that saw his efforts at sports diplomacy experience a slight setback when the Springbok rugby players couldn’t be accommodated in the elevator more than two at a time because they were such strapping specimens, my MD Terry Morris, and I, soon realised that we were dealing with a gem of a book that offered both entertainment as well as more serious reflections on issues such as misgovernance and politics in his host and home countries.

We are so pleased with the end result and want to thank not only Tony for making the writing and publishing process such a smooth-sailing one, but also, in her absence, his wife Michal, without whom we would not have successfully navigated the initial technological difficulties experienced by an author who was writing at some physical remove and wasn’t always completely comfortable with twenty-first century computer innovations. In addition, Michal compiled a “Must-See List” that can be found as an appendix to the book and details some of the highlights for any visitor to Argentina. Thank you for both your efforts, which have resulted in a highly readable book that Pan Macmillan is proud to have as one of our key titles for 2013".

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