A hearse leaving the home of former president FW De Klerk's residence in Fresnaye, Cape Town. De Klerk died on Thursday morning, aged 85. Photo: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)
A hearse leaving the home of former president FW De Klerk's residence in Fresnaye, Cape Town. De Klerk died on Thursday morning, aged 85. Photo: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

BLOG: Farewell, former president FW De Klerk

By IOL Time of article published Nov 12, 2021

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The death of FW de Klerk has opened me up to one hammering question: What does his name mean to us, the black youth residing behind what one historian calls ‘the iron curtain’ of the beautiful cities of this country?

I have failed to negotiate his name between fame and shame as the last president of apartheid who switched off the plug of such a horrible regime.

This is the man who, after being quiet for a long time, dropped a bomb that many social media commentators agitated about after the State of the Nation Address in 2020.

Apartheid was not a crime against humanity, said the former president. This angered mostly black people in the country to the point where some social media commentators said he should be chased out of the country.

Read the full story here.

FW De Klerk played a critical role in dismantling the system of apartheid, says Premier Alan Winde

Cape Town Premier Alan Winde extended his condolences after the news of former President FW de Klerk’s passing and said that he played a critical role in dismantling the system of apartheid.

Winde conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the De Klerk family and also praised his important contribution to the country’s democracy.

“It is with sadness that we note the passing of former President FW De Klerk in Cape Town today. I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones during this very difficult time.

“FW 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,” Winde said.

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FW de Klerk’s death – mixed views over Apartheid’s last president

Ordinary South Africans, including expert political commentators, have been left divided over the legacy of Apartheid South Africa’s last president, FW de Klerk, who lost his battle to cancer earlier on Thursday.

While being hailed by some for his crucial role in the country’s transition from the apartheid regime to a constitutional democracy, others viewed De Klerk with unforgiving eyes, saying that his stance was always that of supporting white power.

One of the country's leading political analysts Ralph Mathekga said how people viewed the death of de Klerk would depend on where they stand, and how they understood what the climate was like in South Africa at the time of his tenure.

“It will depend where you stand because if you look at De Klerk, you look at how he became controversial recently. It will give you a very different view depending on what optics you use regarding his role.

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Late FW De Klerk played an important role in SA’s history, says office of Archbishop Desmond Tutu

The role of former President FW De Klerk in the country’s transition to democracy was acknowledged in a statement from Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s office.

In a statement issued by Dr Mamphela Ramphele, co-ordinator of the Office of the Archbishop, both Archbishop Emeritus Desmond and Leah Tutu expressed their condolences to the family of former President FW De Klerk after his passing.

“The former president occupied an historic but difficult space in South Africa,” the statement read.

“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.”

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FW de Klerk played vital role in transition to democracy - Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to the late FW de Klerk, saying he played a vital role in South Africa’s transition to democracy.

De Klerk – who served as former deputy president under Nelson Mandela’s one term presidency and who was the last Apartheid president – died on Thursday morning following a long battle with cancer.

Ramaphosa conveyed his condolences to De Klerk’s 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.

Read the full story here.

7 things about SA’s last apartheid president, FW de Klerk

As news of the death of South Africa’s last apartheid president FW de Klerk made headlines on Thursday, here are seven things about the former statesman who served as president between 1989 and 1994 and who facilitated the country’s transition from apartheid rule to democracy.

Birth

Frederik Willem de Klerk was born on March 18, 1936, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Education

De Klerk received a law degree (with honours) from Potchefstroom University in 1958. Soon afterwards he began to establish a successful law firm in Vereeniging and became active in civic and business affairs.

Read the full story here.

A hearse leaving the home of former president FW De Klerk's residence in Fresnaye, Cape Town. De Klerk died on Thursday, aged 85. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

VIDEO – FW de Klerk apologises for damage caused by apartheid in his final message

“I, without qualification, apologise for the pain, hurt, indignity and the damage that apartheid has done to black, brown and Indians in South Africa.”

These were words of the late former president FW de Klerk who died on Thursday morning following his battle with cancer.

The FW de Klerk Foundation, moments after announcing his passing, shared a video of the 85-year-old’s last message to citizens.

He shared that his views on apartheid had changed significantly since the 1980’s.

Watch the video and read the full story here.

WATCH: Former president FW de Klerk’s last scandal caused a stir

Former president FW de Klerk, who died on Thursday, saw his last controversy in 2020 when he commented that apartheid was not a crime against humanity.

He received severe criticism from political parties and NGOs for his remarks.

During President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address in February last year, the EFF called for the former president to be kicked out of Parliament, but then National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise refused to give in to the demands of the red berets, stating that De Klerk had been invited by Parliament to attend.

De Klerk then in an SABC interview remarked that apartheid was not a crime against humanity.

Read the full story here.

A hearse leaving with the body of former president FW De Klerk from his home in Fresnaye in Sea Point.

The FW de Klerk Foundation has confirmed that South Africa’s last apartheid president, FW de Klerk has died

Read the full story here.

Cape Town - Former president FW de Klerk lost his battle with cancer on Thursday morning.

The FW de Klerk Foundation confirmed that De Klerk, 85, died at his home in Fresnaye after he struggled against cancer.

“It is with the deepest sadness that the FW de Klerk Foundation must announce that former president FW de Klerk died peacefully at his home in Fresnaye earlier this morning following his struggle against mesothelioma cancer.

“Mr De Klerk was 85 years old. He is survived by his wife Elita, his children Jan and Susan, and his grandchildren.

“The family will, in due course, make an announcement regarding funeral arrangements,” the statement read.

De Klerk succeeded PW Botha, having served as president of the republic from September 1989 until May 1994.

His biography reads that under his leadership, apartheid was dismantled, and he initiated and presided over the inclusive negotiations that led to the adoption of South Africa’s first fully democratic Constitution in December 1993.

In the same year, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize alongside Nelson Mandela.

Prior to his political journey, he attended the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education and graduated in 1958 with BA and LLB degrees (cum laude).

De Klerk moved on to join a law firm in Vereeniging that he helped to develop into one of the leading law firms outside South Africa’s major metropolitan areas.

He was actively involved in community and student affairs and was subsequently offered the Chair of Administrative Law at Potchefstroom University. He declined this offer to enter into politics.

In November 1972, he was elected as Member of Parliament for Vereeniging.

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