n Journal for Contemporary History - Pik Botha and his times, Theresa Papenfus : book review

Volume 36, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2422
  • E-ISSN: 2415-0509



Pik Botha is certainly a memorable man: a veteran (and now retired) politician, who, for more than three decades, was the political colossus of apartheid, South Africa's foreign policy. Pik Botha is, of course, a former South African Foreign Minister and colourful National Party politician: a man that "appeared to have been born with the portfolio of Foreign Affairs in his hands", in the words of the former Belgium Prime Minister, Leo Tindemans. For many journalists he was a newsmaker and the minister of drama, while some also associated him with passion, fun, smoking, drinking, and flirting.

Against this background, the book, , authored by the journalist, Theresa Papenfus, takes a thoughtful look at the life of Mr Roelof "Pik" Botha as one of the most enduring of South African politicians. The book is not an autobiography, but was written with Botha's cooperation, although, according to the author, personal information was sometimes reluctantly imparted whenever he was approached. Still, the book includes many of his personal verses (expressing his deepest sentiments, often during days of heated cut and thrust politics), photographs and other personal information.

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