Pieter du Toit | Truth and reconciliation: The crucifixion of Frederik Willem de Klerk

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FW de Klerk
FW de Klerk

The announcement this week that former apartheid head of state FW de Klerk has been diagnosed with cancer led to some visceral reaction: many were jubilant, and others said he deserved it. But history is more complex than what many dare to acknowledge today, writes Pieter du Toit.

Writing in his memoir A Promised Land, former US President Barack Obama recalls meeting the last chairman of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev on a visit to Moscow.

Gorbachev struck the then President, “... as a strangely tragic figure”. Here was a man who was once the leader of one of the most powerful nations on earth and whose instinct for reform, “... no matter how tentative”, led to, “... an epic global transformation and earned him the Nobel Peace Prize”.

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