December 23, 2019
Peter Hain was 19 when he realised sport was the way to bring down apartheid in South Africa – a fight captured in a powerful documentary called Stop the Tour“I was a source of great hatred,” Peter Hain says with a wry smile as he remembers how, 50 years ago this month, he led passionate anti-apartheid protests against the Springbok rugby tour of Britain and Ireland. “I was seen as a traitor by South Africa’s white volk [people] and the newspapers described me as public enemy No 1. They felt I’d completely betrayed them and, because this meant white supremacy and apartheid, I was proud to do so.”
Peter Hain: ‘Stopping South Africa’s rugby and cricket teams hit them right in the gut’
Hain, the former Labour cabinet minister who sits in the House of Lords, looks out of his Millbank office on a cold but sunlit December morning. The Houses of Parliament are just across the road and here, in the heart of the British political establishment, his white South African accent remains clear as he reflects on demonstrations that dented apartheid. Hain was 19 in 1969 when he confronted white South Africans in the sporting arena to highlight the brutal injustice of apartheid. He became a despised figure in his home country and among conservative British society.
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