FW, be careful of revisionism

2012-05-12 09:40

Former South African president FW de Klerk should not forget that he is a Nobel peace prize laureate. He won the prize, together with Nelson Mandela, because he was a ­pragmatist who realised apartheid had to end.
Based on the peace prize, De Klerk has gained the reputation of an international statesman. He should not flounder on the rocks of revisionism.

His remarks in Chicago, US, this week on ­global news network CNN that:

» Homelands have always existed;

» Black poverty is not apartheid’s fault but the ANC’s;

» Mandela’s treason trial was fair; and

» White people have done enough for ­transformation because they pay taxes, smack of revisionism.

In some European nations, ­revisionism – specifically Holocaust denialism – is punishable with jail time.

No similar law exists here when it comes to apartheid revisionism, but De Klerk’s words have prompted a flurry of ­suggestions that South Africa should look at the same law.

South Africa is only 18 years into a dispensation where every citizen is equal before the law.

This was certainly not the case during president De Klerk’s National Party reign, and for him to attempt to gloss over it, or change the facts to suit the moment, is simply unforgivable.

Africa’s past is littered with old men who lose their marbles. De Klerk shouldn’t become one.


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