Why Prue Leith thought protesting against Apartheid at university was 'pathetic'

The acclaimed cook said she was not a real revolutionary like other people in the Struggle

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The Independent Online

Prue Leith has said that protesting against the Apartheid regime while at the University of Cape Town was "pathetic" because she was "camp follower" with no real revolutionary credentials.

The cook, writer and broadcaster, who is best known as a judge on the BBC show Great British Menu, was born in South Africa and grew up in Johannesburg.

Leith said she was arrested for demonstrating against Apartheid while at university in Cape Town. She said, "I remember doing pathetic things like...I got arrested and I remember feeling rather proud of myself because I thought a night in jail it will do my street 'cred' so much…people will know that I'm a real revolutionary.

"You know what, they (the authorities) took one look at me, saw that I was a camp follower, that I had no credentials, and they just let me go."

On her website she writes that she was "shamefully unaware of the horrors of Apartheid" although her mother, Margaret Inglis, was a famous actress who publicly protested against the racist regime.

Apartheid was the National Party government's system of racial segregation that was in place in South Africa between 1948 and 1994.

Leith said that black people were not even allowed in the university she attended and that "anyway, they had no education beyond the age of ten so very few black people could go to university at all."

Apartheid in South Africa lasted 46 years and saw the late Nelson Mandela jailed for 27 years. Upon Mandela's release in 1990, then President Frederik Willem de Klerk initiated negotiations to end Apartheid, leading to the first multi-racial democratic elections in 1994 that saw the African National Congress (ANC) and Mandela claim victory.

The ANC has ruled South Africa ever since.

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