The death of former state president PW Botha should serve as a reminder of the country's "horribly divided past", former president Nelson Mandela said in a tribute on Wednesday.
However, it should also serve to remind South Africans of how citizens of all persuasions ultimately came together to save the country from destruction, he said.
Botha died at his home Die Anker, near Wilderness in the Western Cape, just after 8pm on Tuesday.
"While to many Mr Botha will remain a symbol of apartheid, we also remember him for the steps he took to pave the way towards the eventual peacefully negotiated settlement in our country," said Mandela.
His correspondence with Botha while in prison was an important part of the initial stages of the process, as was his agreement to a personal meeting in Tuynhuys, he said.
Mandela expressed his sincere condolences to Botha's wife, Barbara, and the rest of his family. - Sapa