A highly readable, dramatic story of a colourful South African journey lasting over 50 years in politics, from anti-apartheid protester to Right Honourable Lord, from Pretoria childhood to senior British Cabinet Minister.
A Pretoria Boy begins with 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, and putting South Africa’s state capture and corruption on the front pages of the New York Times and Financial Times, some suggest playing 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.
How he organised and led aged 19 militant anti-Springbok demonstrations in exile in London in 1969-1970, denounced by South African media as ‘Public Enemy Number One’.
How he narrowly escaped jail after a South African government financed prosecution landed him up in the Old Bailey in 1972 for conspiracy to disrupt those all-white South African sports tours. 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.