DEVELOPING | FW de Klerk to be cremated at private ceremony

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President Clinton applauds as Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first post-Apartheid President, and Frederik de Klerk, South Africa's last Apartheid President, shake hands. Both Mandela and de Klerk won the Nobel Prize for peace.
President Clinton applauds as Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first post-Apartheid President, and Frederik de Klerk, South Africa's last Apartheid President, shake hands. Both Mandela and de Klerk won the Nobel Prize for peace.
Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

REFLECTIONS: Mac Maharaj, Mavuso Msimang, Christi van der Westhuizen and more on FW de Klerk's legacy

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14 Nov 2021

FW de Klerk to be cremated at private ceremony, no state funeral

The funeral of former president, FW de Klerk, who died on Thursday aged 85, will take place on Sunday 21 November in a private ceremony, his foundation said in a statement on Sunday.

De Klerk, who won praise worldwide for his role in scrapping apartheid and shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela in 1993, has a complex legacy that left many grappling with conflicting emotions following his death.

The country's black population remains angered by his actions during apartheid and for his failure to curb political violence in the run up to South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994. Many argued against him being granted a state funeral - a privilege his foundation's statement confirmed he is not set to enjoy.


12 Nov 2021

Sheep to be slaughtered to 'celebrate' death of FW de Klerk

The Black People's National Crisis Committee said on Friday it plans to slaughter a sheep to "celebrate" the death of FW de Klerk at a ceremony in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. 

An organiser, Phurah Jack, told News24 the ceremony will be to mark De Klerk's death, and to ask ancestors to make sure De Klerk meets the spirit of Steve Biko wherever he goes. 


12 Nov 2021

‘Unwilling to see how evil apartheid was’ - Father Michael Lapsley on De Klerk

Well-known Anglican priest and social justice activist Father Michael Lapsley says the late former president FW de Klerk will be known for bringing the apartheid regime to the negotiating table.

However, "there is ample evidence that till his dying day he was unwilling or incapable of acknowledging just how evil apartheid was and how much suffering it caused”, he said. 


12 Nov 2021

Ace Magashule: ‘De Klerk’s death triggers painful memories’

“I don’t want to be reminded of apartheid,” was all suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule would say on Thursday following the passing of former apartheid state president FW de Klerk, who died at his Fresnaye home in Cape Town on Thursday morning.

He was 85.

Magashule told City Press later on Thursday that the passing of De Klerk “brought back memories of so many people who died in our country during apartheid and I do not want to be taken back there”.


12 Nov 2021

Religious leaders have arrived at the house of former president FW de Klerk. Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and his wife were among the clergy entering the De Klerk's home.

- Marvin Charles

12 Nov 2021

Zelda la Grange | FW de Klerk showed me compassion in my moment of need

Zelda la Grange writes that she will never forget the one day that FW de Klerk showed her compassion and kindness, just after Nelson Mandela died.

The historic Groote Schuur Minute was the signing of a document between Nelson Mandela, then president of the ANC and the South African State President FW de Klerk at Tuinhuis.

Image credit: Media24, Gallo Images

<p><strong>Zelda la Grange | FW de Klerk showed me compassion in my moment of need</strong></p><p>Zelda la Grange&nbsp;writes that she will never forget the one day that FW de Klerk showed her compassion and kindness, just after Nelson Mandela died.</p><p></p><p>The historic Groote Schuur Minute was the signing of a document between Nelson Mandela, then president of the ANC and the South African State President FW de Klerk at Tuinhuis.</p><p>Image credit: Media24, Gallo Images</p>

12 Nov 2021

PICS | Little to no activity outside FW de Klerk's Cape Town home

Very little activity took place outside the home of former president FW de Klerk after his death on Thursday, with only a few people trickling in to pay their respects.


12 Nov 2021

FW de Klerk died after battle with mesothelioma - a rare, but nearly always fatal cancer

Former state president FW de Klerk died on Thursday after battling mesothelioma. He had been diagnosed with the rare cancer that affects the tissue lining of the lungs in March 2021.


12 Nov 2021

Former President FW De Klerk body leaves in a hearse on 11 November 2021 in Cape Town.

FW de Klerk was a retired South African politician, who served as State President of South Africa from 1989 to 1994.

He was the last president of apartheid South Africa, and died age 85.

Image credit: Brenton Geach, Gallo Images

<p>Former President FW De Klerk body leaves in a hearse on 11 November 2021 in Cape Town.</p><p>FW de Klerk was a retired South African politician, who served as State President of South Africa from 1989 to 1994.</p><p>He was the last president of apartheid South Africa, and died age 85. </p><p></p><p>Image credit: Brenton Geach, Gallo Images</p>

12 Nov 2021


The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation extends its condolences to the family of former president FW de Klerk.  The FW de Klerk Foundation in a statement confirmed that the last apartheid president died at his home in Fresnaye earlier this morning following his struggle against mesothelioma cancer.

Mr de Klerk was 85 years old. From 1989 until 1994, Mr de Klerk served as State President until the inauguration of  President Nelson Mandela. In the government of national unity, De Klerk was inaugurated as one of South Africa’s two Executive Deputy Presidents until his resignation. 

In 2015, struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada wrote the following opinion piece:  We must strive for reconciliation daily

The Editor,  

I am writing this as an interested individual and also as one who happened to have  been among the beneficiaries of former President de Klerk’s decisions.

I do not hold a  position in any public organisation and remain a rank-and-file member of my ANC  branch.  

Much has been said and written about Mr FW de Klerk in recent weeks. What evoked considerable reaction was the decision of the Cape Town Council to rename a major  road in the city in honour of former President de Klerk.

The views expressed publicly  varied between enthusiastic support for the idea and explicit and vocal objections to it.  

I, however, thought it appropriate for me to revert to the past, and in doing so, recall  my personal experiences.

I am fully aware of the public criticism expressed, among others, by some of my friends, especially comrades who are holding prominent positions in public life. I have no hesitation in assuming that in keeping with the  mores of the ANC, and with respect to their views, they will accept my right to express my views - albeit somewhat different.  

Had my view been solicited on this matter, I would have indicated that I have no objections to a road being named after the former State President. While I disagreed with the policies of his political party, I am of the view that the release of political  prisoners in October 1989 and the unbanning of political organisations placed the country firmly onto a road of a negotiated settlement, which was to culminate in the  historic 1994 elections and ultimately a new Constitution for South Africa.

The  effects of global pressure against apartheid and the internal mass struggles would have  ultimately led to the collapse of apartheid, but had it not been for Mr De Klerk’s bold steps, we would perhaps have spent another decade or more in struggle, which could  have left South Africa a wasteland.  

Reconciliation is an ongoing process and will sometimes move at great speed and at other times, will appear to be a lost cause. It nevertheless is something that we must  strive for daily.  

If a street renaming makes a contribution in that regard, than it should be supported.  

In the same vein, when a street or town needs to have a name change and serves to  make us a more cohesive society, we should support it. Let me for a moment go back to the past.

On Tuesday, 10 October 1989, Walter Sisulu,  Govan Mbeki, Elias Motsoaledi, Wilton Mkwayi and Andrew Mlangeni and I paid a visit to Mandela at Groot Drakenstein Prison.

When our visit ended, Madiba said: "Chaps, this is farewell, because you are going to be released."

Without any excitement we responded: "We’ll believe it when it happens." 

Before returning us to Pollsmoor Prison, we were informed by the prison authorities  that we would first be having dinner at Groot Drakenstein.

At 8pm while at dinner, we  were dumbfounded when we saw the TV news report carrying President de Klerk’s  announcement that the eight prisoners were to be released. Naturally, I looked for my  name; it was number 8!

But he didn’t say when.  On the following Wednesday, we were told by the then Chief Warder, Christo Brand, to pack all our belongings because we were going to be "transferred".

By this time,  Christo and I had become friends, so much so that his wife Estelle used to bake a  Christmas cake for me, which  he illegally smuggled to me in prison.

He also told me I  could also include my prison uniform, dish, mug and spoon.  On the morning of Friday, 13 October 1989, we were flown in our civvies to  Johannesburg Prison. The next day, the head of the prison informed us that he had  received a fax from Prison Headquarters in Pretoria that we were going to be released  the following morning.  

Early on the morning of Sunday, 15 October 1989, we were driven to our homes. At  about 5.30am, I knocked at the door of my brother’s house in Lenasia.

My very first  visitor was Laloo Chiba, my dear friend and comrade, who had spent 18 years with us  on Robben Island.  

Subsequently, I had met Mr De Klerk at several functions. By now we had developed  an easy and comfortable interaction between us.

I once thanked him for his announcement about our release, but complained that he didn’t say when. His  response was: "Good things come a little at a time." 

After 26 years of my life in prison, it would be churlish of me not to say: "Thank you,  President de Klerk," for eventually crossing the Rubicon and rising to the occasion  when the country needed you to do so.  

Ahmed Kathrada   

Issued by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation   

12 Nov 2021

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) has expressed its condolences to the family of former president FW de Klerk. The organisation had previously criticised De Klerk for his statements around apartheid.

"Mr De Klerk will be remembered for the decision he took to persuade his ruling National Party to abandon the injurious policies of apartheid that dehumanised millions of his fellow citizens for decades in what was described by the United Nations as a crime against humanity. The SACC embraced the changes that Mr De Klerk brought about, beginning with the unbanning of liberation movements and the release of political prisoners," said SACC General Secretary, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana.

The organisations said it was “heartened that De Klerk departed in a spirit … recognising and admitting the horrible injustices of apartheid”. 

"Of course, there may be reason to also look at those aspects of apartheid dirty tricks that he may have been part of in government, but this is not the time. The country remains dangerously splintered and variously wounded; and his passing should rather offer us all a moment to pluck up the courage to build a common South African identity beyond the apartheid legacy of racial and ethnic divisions that now define our politics," said Mpumlwana.

- Nicole McCain

12 Nov 2021

FRIDAY BRIEFING | The last apartheid president: FW de Klerk, 1936-2021

The death of FW de Klerk, the last apartheid head of state, is an inflection moment for South Africa, a country where history is never past. 

<p><strong>FRIDAY BRIEFING | The last apartheid president: FW de Klerk, 1936-2021</strong></p><p>The death of FW de Klerk, the last apartheid head of state, is an inflection moment for South Africa, a country where history is never past.&nbsp;</p>

12 Nov 2021

Dear colleagues  

My heart goes out to former President FW De Klerk’s widow, Elita, De Klerk, their family, friends and colleagues.  He ran his race the best way he could.

Without his courageous move to release Mandela  and other political prisoners, unban political parties and set the stage for constitutional negotiations, there is a chance we could still be engaged in warfare. 

De Klerk was not without fault. His recent pronouncements about apartheid were hurtful and troubling.  

However, his final message in the video released on the day of his passing, is a gift we can use to reckon honestly with the legacy of apartheid and the damage,  he acknowledges, it did.

This gives us a basis for a reset aimed at collectively acknowledging and appreciating the damage apartheid did and deliberately fixing it. That for me, should be our focal point going forward. 

Blessings,  Thuli Madonsela 

Thuma Foundation Founder

12 Nov 2021

De Klerk lauded for role in dismantling apartheid, but tarnish on legacy remains

The death of apartheid's final state president FW de Klerk was met with the contradictions that characterised his political life.


11 Nov 2021

11 Nov 2021

COPE pays tribute to FW de Klerk

Former president FW de Klerk will be remembered for the  critical role he played "in a very critical time in the 90s, leading South Africa with former president Nelson Mandela through a very difficult transition from an evil system of apartheid to a democratic South Africa," COPE said in a statement.

It said de Klerk was "courageous enough to take that unpopular route," even though he was labelled a sellout by "some of his people".

"It is well known that there was huge resistance from a section of his political party, the National Party, and the white community that he must not give in to the demands of the Liberation Movements."

COPE said while some were advocating for a civil war, de Klerk  "persuaded and convinced them to abandon their plans of turning this country into a civil war zone."

Many people's lives were saved by that, the party said.

"As COPE we convey our heartfelt condolences to his wife, children and friends. We know that the Almighty will heal their painful wound."

11 Nov 2021

De Klerk will be remembered for his foresight, but he 'failed to cement his legacy'

Parliament's presiding officers, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Amos Masondo, said although De Klerk espoused controversial and polarising views regarding the legacy of apartheid, "he was also the most realistic of all leaders of the apartheid regime who had the courage and decisiveness to cross the Rubicon."

"While it is sad that he subsequently missed the opportunity to cement this legacy by failing to fully recognise and appreciate the devastation the system of apartheid caused to millions of South Africans, history will remember his foresight in realising that apartheid had become untenable and its fall was inevitable, and his contribution in laying the foundation for the new South Africa."

11 Nov 2021

De Klerk missed many chances to fully reconcile with all South Africans - Tutu foundation

Former president FW de Klerk missed many chances to reconcile with all South Africans, the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation said in a statement on Thursday.

Foundation CEO Piyushi Kotecha offered her condolences to De Klerk's family, but added, "It is, however, sad that Mr de Klerk missed the many chances he had to fully reconcile with all South Africans by acknowledging the full extent of the damage caused by apartheid. That damage is with us today. We are in many ways a broken society.

"It is as our founder, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, has said, ‘Mr de Klerk could have gone down in history as a truly great South African statesman, but he eroded his stature and became a small man, lacking magnanimity and generosity of spirit'."

Kotecha added that while De Klerk played a vital role in ending apartheid, he was never able to acknowledge the full extent of apartheid’s evil.

"De Klerk’s adult life can be summed up in three phases. The first was as a faithful disciple of the apartheid ideology, which he implemented with ruthless efficiency and which brought him to prominence among his fellow apartheid-era cabinet ministers. In the second, as a new president, De Klerk brokered a deal that changed the course of history and brought democracy to South Africa. In the third, he refused to acknowledge the full extent of the social, economic and political damage caused by apartheid."

11 Nov 2021

End of a 'special era' - Afrikanerbond

The Afrikanerbond (previously the Broederbond) has described De Klerk as a "remarkable Afrikaner" who "made the right decisions".

Its chief secretary Jan Bosman said De Klerk played a crucial role in unravelling racial conflict, "pulling the country from the abyss of destruction".

"With his sincerity, firmness of principle and understanding of the problems of the time, FW de Klerk made the right decisions. He could have joined the ranks of other statesmen and enjoyed a peaceful retirement. Instead, through the FW De Klerk Foundation and the Centre for Constitutional Rights, he tirelessly pursued the ideals he had set for South Africa. The Afrikanerbond honours and respects him for this."

Bosman said it was "the end of a special era".

11 Nov 2021

He was a very private man: FW de Klerk's neighbour

A neighbour of former President, FW de Klerk, described the late statesman, as a "very private" man, only seeing him as he came and went in his motorcade.


11 Nov 2021

The last apartheid president FW de Klerk apologised "without qualification" for the misery apartheid wrought on 'black, brown and Indian' South Africans. In a pre-recorded message before his death, De Klerk said he had a change of heart about apartheid in the early 1980s.

11 Nov 2021

De Klerk presided over a 'murderous and inhumane regime of terror' - EFF

The EFF noted the death of former apartheid president FW de Klerk who "presided over a murderous and inhumane regime of terror against African people", according to a statement.

"As a president of apartheid, De Klerk holds no legitimate claim to title or honour of having led this country. He was the president of an undemocratic and racist society which elected him as a minority. He was a president who led on the basis of the political and economic disenfranchisement of the majority black population of South Africa."

The EFF is adamant that De Klerk should not have a state funeral.

- Jan Gerber

11 Nov 2021

'De Klerk will forever be linked to Nelson Mandela in SA's history' - foundation

The Nelson Mandela Foundation said it was saddened to hear of the passing of FW de Klerk and sent their condolences to his wife and family.

"De Klerk will forever be linked to Nelson Mandela in the annals of South African history. As head of state, he oversaw the release of Madiba from prison on 11 February 1990. In 1993 they were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace prize for ushering in a negotiated settlement that led to South Africa holding its first democratic election in 1994." 

Speaking at De Klerk’s 70th birthday celebrations, former president Nelson Mandela said: 'You and I have had our differences, some of them very public. Our basic respect for one another has, however, never diminished. And it was that respect for the other irrespective of all differences that made it possible for us, and our organisations, to work together and to negotiate that historic compromise that the world marvelled at. If we two old, or ageing, men have any lessons for our country and for the world, it is that solutions to conflicts can only be found if adversaries are fundamentally prepared to accept the integrity of one other.'

The foundation added that, "De Klerk’s legacy is a big one. It is also an uneven one, something South Africans are called to reckon with in this moment."

11 Nov 2021

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said the ANC conveys their heartfelt condolences to FW de Klerk's family, friends and community.

Mabe said De Klerk unbanned political parties and facilitated the release of former president Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners.

Steve Swart from ACDP have expressed their deepest condolences to his family and friends. He said De Klerk played a key role in the "miraculous 1994 elections".

Cosatu's Matthews Parks said De Klerk did not help himself by saying in recent years that apartheid was not a crime against humanity. "It was not helpful," he said, adding that when anyone passes it was a sad event.

- Qaanitah Hunter

11 Nov 2021

GALLERY | FW de Klerk's life in pictures

Former apartheid president FW de Klerk has died at age 85. Here is a look back at his life in pictures.

<p><strong>GALLERY | FW de Klerk's life in pictures</strong> </p><p>Former apartheid president FW de Klerk has died at age 85. Here is a look back at his life in pictures.</p>

11 Nov 2021

Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam, an MP from the NFP called De Klerk's death "untimely". He expressed his condolences.

11 Nov 2021

Nazier Paulson, an EFF MP, said of De Klerk: "He finally meets his maker. He will tell him that apartheid was a crime against humanity."

11 Nov 2021

WATCH | FW de Klerk apologises 'without qualification' for apartheid in 'last message to people of SA'

In a message from beyond the grave, apartheid's last president FW de Klerk offered his apology, "without qualification" for the misery caused by apartheid. 

In what a visibly frail De Klerk described as his "last message to the people of South Africa", shared in video format by the FW de Klerk Foundation, he said: "I'm still often accused by critics that I in some way or another continue to justify apartheid or separate development, as we later preferred to call it. It is true that in my younger years, I defended separate development as I never liked the word apartheid. I did so when I was a Member of Parliament, and I did so as I became a member of cabinet."


11 Nov 2021

Western Cape premier Alan Winde said De Klerk will be remembered for his "important contribution to South Africa’s peaceful transition to a constitutional democracy, including becoming deputy president as part of the government of national unity".

"He played a critical role in dismantling the system of Apartheid, and we thank and honour him for this contribution today.

"I encourage South Africans to use this sad moment to again commit to the values enshrined in our Constitution, and to remember that we are stronger together, united in our diversity. These values must remain our guiding light as we move forward together."

– Jan Gerber

11 Nov 2021

SARS commissioner Edward Kieswetter on De Klerk:

"We must honour the moment and pay due respects to the role that he has played, very critical at a point in our development. Some of the decisions made triggered, and ushered in the conversations that led to the dawn of our democracy.

"So whatever people might think or feel about it – and I'm sure that there'll be a lot of mixed feelings about it – I think today we must pause and honour and appreciate the role that he has played. I certainly would like to extend my personal condolences to the family of the former president De Klerk during this time of their bereavement."

11 Nov 2021

FF Plus statement on death of FW De Klerk

FF Plus leader Dr Pieter Groenewald expressed the party's condolences to the family of former president FW de Klerk on Thursday as news of his death spread.

"De Klerk was a controversial politician who initiated the process of establishing a new political dispensation in South Africa since 1994. The direction he chose to take elicited serious differences in opinion and many arguments both for and against his decisions.

"I am of the opinion that De Klerk was ultimately also not satisfied with the outcomes of the political changes. He did not foresee the consequences nor the current decline and decay and he readily admitted that later on.

"He leaves a legacy of one who brought about drastic changes in South Africa's political landscape, even though he did not get the results he may have hoped for.

"From the outset, I made it clear that I differed from De Klerk on certain aspects of what a new and different dispensation in South Africa should entail. My view was that the new dispensation must have greater federal power sharing and more protection for minority groups.

"De Klerk, nevertheless, believed that he was doing the right thing and he was wholeheartedly committed to bringing about political changes in South Africa."

11 Nov 2021

FW de Klerk 'changed the course of history': UK PM

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday paid tribute to South Africa's last apartheid president FW de Klerk, praising him for his pivotal role in transforming the country.

"I am saddened by the death of FW de Clerk, a leader who changed the course of history by freeing Nelson Mandela and working alongside him to end apartheid and bring democracy to South Africa," he said in a statement.


11 Nov 2021

President Cyril Ramaphosa on the death of FW De Klerk:

"I have learned with great sadness of the passing of former Deputy President and former State President Frederik Willem 'FW' de Klerk.

"The Former Deputy President passed away earlier today, Thursday, 11 November 2021, after an extended period of illness. He was 85 years of age.

"I offer my sincerest condolences to his wife, Elita, his children Jan and Susan, and his grandchildren.

"My thoughts are also with Mr De Klerk’s friends and associates and the management and staff of the FW de Klerk Foundation.

"The then State President De Klerk played a vital role in our transition to democracy in the 1990s, which originated from his first meeting in 1989 with President Nelson Mandela who was a political prisoner at that stage.

"He took the courageous decision to unban political parties, release political prisoners and enter into negotiations with the liberation movement amid severe pressure to the contrary from many in his political constituency.

"Deputy President was a committed South African who embraced the democratic constitutional dispensation and placed the long-term future of the country ahead of narrow political interests.

"Serving as Deputy President from 1994 to 1996, Mr De Klerk played an important role in the Government of National Unity, dedicating himself to the constitutional imperative of healing the divisions and conflict of our past.

"Deputy President De Klerk’s passing, weeks before the 25th anniversary of our democratic Constitution, should inspire all of us to reflect on the birth of our democracy and on our shared duty to remain true to the values of our Constitution.

"May his soul rest in peace."

11 Nov 2021

Inkatha Freedom Party [IFP] leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has described the death of former president FW de Klerk as a “painful moment for the nation”.

“We have lost a champion of democratic principles and constitutionalism who served South Africa long after his retirement from governance.”

Buthelezi had the privilege of serving in the Government of National Unity with then deputy president de Klerk as they laid the foundation of South Africa’s democracy.

“I respected his commitment to the wellbeing of our country and recognised in him the characteristics of a patriot,” he said.

- Marvin Charles

11 Nov 2021

Messages of condolences poured in on Thursday, for late president FW de Klerk.

Out-going Cape Town mayor Dan Plato who served as a member of the National Party, extended his heartfelt condolences to De Klerk's family, friends and those who worked with him at his foundation.

"Sharing the Nobel Peace Prize with the late Nelson Mandela, the country’s first democratic president, De Klerk helped guide the country through a peaceful transition. My thoughts are with the family and friends of the late FW de Klerk," Plato said.

- Marvin Charles

11 Nov 2021

It is understood that De Klerk was intimately involved in the arrangements for his funeral and that he even attended a dry-run which was apparently held at the Groote Kerk Dutch Reformed Church in the Cape Town central business district some weeks ago.

- Pieter du Toit

11 Nov 2021

The Global Leadership Foundation (GLF), which was founded by De Klerk in 2004, has revealed that he prepared for his departure by ensuring there was a successor to lead the organisation.

Its members elected Helen Clark and she formally took the chair at the end of last month. The organisation consists of 45 former leaders from around the world who are available to offer peer-to-peer advice to current leaders on a confidential basis.

“While the idea of using experience was not unique to the GLF at the time, he applied his own style, insisting that it would be shared in complete confidence – ‘under the radar’ as he liked to describe it – in order to build a relationship of trust with those who sought his help,” the foundation said on Thursday.

“Under his wise, astute and energetic leadership, the Foundation steadily established itself with early projects in Africa, Europe, the Americas and Asia, many of which he led himself.”

It said that at every stage, his clarity of purpose, sense of duty and personal warmth added to his global reputation as a Nobel Laureate and ensured that he won over not just the minds of those with whom he engaged, but their hearts also.

“FW leaves behind a robust, resilient, and imaginative organisation, which is built on his own experience of transformative leadership and his personal sense of duty and purpose, which is imbued with his understanding of the need for dialogue and negotiation to resolve the most difficult challenges, and which will be sustained by the memory of the engaging personality, winning charm, and unquenchable enthusiasm of one of the greatest statesmen of the modern era.”

It conveyed its deepest sympathy and good wishes to his wife Elita and loved ones.

- Jenna Verster

11 Nov 2021

FW de Klerk occupied an historic but difficult space in South Africa, the Office of Archbishop Desmond Tutu says.

"He was the last head of state of a minority government after 350 years of colonial and apartheid rule, who ceded power to a hugely popular President Nelson Mandela after the country’s first democratic elections in 1994," said Dr Mamphela Ramphele, acting chairperson of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu IP Trust and co-ordinator of his office. 

"He was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela for his contribution to setting South Africa on the road to peace and justice. Although some South Africans found the global recognition of Mr De Klerk hard to accept, Mr Mandela, himself, praised him for his courage in seeing the country's political transformation process through."

Ramphele said after De Klerk appeared at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission before Tutu, the Archbishop addressed the media to express disappointment that the former President had not made a "more wholesome apology on behalf of the National Party to the nation for the evils of apartheid".

"But in more recent years, the Tutus and De Klerks developed closer relations. The late FW De Klerk played an important role in South Africa's history. At a time when not all of his colleagues saw the future trajectory of the country unfolding in the same way, he recognised the moment for change and demonstrated the will to act on it.'

– Tammy Petersen

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