Memoirs of a bridge-builder

John Battersby assesses the contested role of Denis Worrall, a liberal opponent of apartheid

The World Today Updated 2 November 2020 Published 9 December 2019 2 minute READ

John Battersby

Former London Correspondent for the Rand Daily Mail between 1983 and 1987 and is now a regular correspondent, Africa Confidential

The Independent Factor: My Personal Journey through Politics and Diplomacy Denis Worrall, £16.99

Denis Worrall changed his political colours so many times that many wrote him off as a maverick and opportunist who was too fond of trading his political principles for a chance to walk in the corridors of power.

That was certainly the case when the political scientist, lawyer, liberal editor and businessman entered parliament in 1974 as a representative of the National Party that invented apartheid.

Worrall defended his decision saying he sensed an opportunity to be part of the change that had been forced on the apartheid government by economic realities and international pressure.

He rose to take the key post of South Africa’s ambassador in London. An astute and effective diplomat, he spent much of his time in London solving crises caused by the PW Botha Government.

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