/ 12 November 2021

Vale FW de Klerk

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Former South African president FW de Klerk died yesterday from cancer at 85yo. President from 1989-1994, the conservative Afrikaaner was the last white man to lead the country after pushing for elections that saw Nelson Mandela take power. For those efforts, the men shared a Nobel Peace Prize. The ball started rolling in 1990 when de Klerk announced that Mandela would be released from prison after 27 years and the ban on anti-apartheid political groups would be lifted. That didn’t mean De Klerk and Mandela were besties… They had many bitter disputes and accounts from that time say Mandela thought he was a political opportunist. And de Klerk’s legacy is described as “uneven”, with many seeing him as an apartheid apologist to the end. But President Cyril Ramaphosa paid tribute to de Klerk overnight, noting his role in changing the course of South African history despite “severe pressure to the contrary from many in his political constituency”.

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