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The memoirs of former Opposition leader Tony Leon provide a unique glimpse into the political life of South Africa in the democratic era. In incisive, finely focused prose, On the Contrary records Leon's thirteen-year leadership of the Democratic Alliance and its predecessor, the Democratic Party, years in which the party grew from its marginal position on the brink of political extinction into the second largest political force in South Africa. This is an adventure in ideas that involves vivid real people - friends, colleagues and enemies alike. There is new light shed on many of the figures who have shaped modern South Africa, including Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk and Thabo Mbeki. A trained lawyer, Tony Leon entered Parliament at age 32 at the dawn of South Africa's period of revolution and reform. He actively participated in the constitutional negotiations that led to the birth of the democratic South Africa.

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