FW de Klerk: Mandela held my hand for all to see

2013-12-06 13:24

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Former SA president FW de Klerk is unsurprised but grief-stricken over Madiba’s death, he told journalists today.

The 77-year-old former statesman released his soon-to-be successor Nelson Mandela from prison, and was a key role player involved in brokering the end of apartheid.

He said Madiba’s presidential inauguration on May 10 1994 was a pivotal moment that he will treasure for the rest of his life.

“I will always remember him holding up my hand, and also the hand of Thabo Mbeki, for all to see. It was symbolic of us approaching the future together,” De Klerk told journalists assembled at the Townhouse Hotel, near Parliament in central Cape Town.

“Keeping our Constitution alive is the best way to honour Nelson Mandela’s legacy,” he said.

De Klerk added that the last time he saw Madiba was before the Soccer World Cup, when he joined Mandela and Graça Machel for tea at their Houghton home. “He was already very frail then. But we laughed and reminisced,” said De Klerk.

The former statesman said he learned of Tata’s death when a CNN reporter called him early this morning. He said he waited for President Jacob Zuma’s official confirmation before he shared the news.

After the press conference, he softly said in Afrikaans: “Ek is nie verbaas nie, maar ek is treurig. (I am not surprised, but I am grief-stricken.)”

De Klerk and Mandela jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.