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A Pretoria Boy

Peter Hain

A highly readable, dramatic story of a colourful South African journey in politics lasting over 50 years, from anti-apartheid protester to Right Honourable Lord, from Pretoria childhood to senior British Cabinet Minister.

A Pretoria Boy begins with the story of how Peter Hain’s journey came full circle when he used parliamentary privilege in 2017–18 to expose looting and money laundering, supplied with the ammunition by his ‘deep throat’ inside the Zuma State. In so doing, he put South Africa’s state capture and corruption on the front pages of the New York Times and Financial Times, which some suggest played a part in Zuma’s toppling.

Going back to an anti-apartheid childhood in Pretoria in the late 1950s and early 1960s, there are vivid descriptions of his parents’ arrest, banning, harassment, helping an escaped political prisoner, the hanging of a close white family friend, and enforced exile to London in 1966 after the government prohibited his architect father from working. 

It tells of how, at aged 19, Hain organised and led militant anti-Springbok demonstrations in exile in London in 1969–1970, for which he was denounced by the South African media as ‘Public Enemy Number One’. It is about how he narrowly escaped jail after a South African government-financed prosecution landed him in the Old Bailey in 1972 for conspiracy to disrupt those all-white South African sports tours and, then in 1975, how he was framed for a bank theft committed by an apartheid security agent. 

His return to South Africa came first on a secret mission in December 1989, then as a parliamentary observer during the 1994 elections.

The book ends with his perspective on the country’s future.


Lord Peter Hain was brought up in South Africa and has been in politics for over 50 years. Forced into exile with his family, he was a British anti-apartheid leader. An MP for Neath from 1991–2015, he served in the Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for twelve years, seven in the Cabinet. In 2015 he received the OR Tambo National Award in Silver for his ‘excellent contribution to the freedom struggle’. In 2017–18 he exposed money laundering and corruption in the UK Parliament involving global corporates under then President Jacob Zuma, and gave evidence to the Zondo Commission. He is the author of 22 books. He teaches at GIBS and Stellenbosch Business Schools.  

Category:  Biographies & Memoirs
ISBN:  9781776191222
Publisher:  Jonathan Ball Publishers
On sale:  August 2021
Format:  Paperback
eBook ISBN  9781776191239 
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