F. W. de Klerk

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History has placed a tremendous responsibility on the shoulders of this country's leadership, namely the responsibility of moving our country away from the current course of conflict and confrontation... The hope of millions of South Africans is fixed on us. The future of southern Africa depends on us. We dare not waver or fail.

—De Klerk's speech to Parliament, February 1990 [21]

On 2 February 1990, in an address to the country's parliament, he introduced plans for sweeping reforms of the political system. [47] A number of banned political parties, including the ANC and Communist Party of South Africa, would be legalized, [48] although he emphasized that this did not constitute an endorsement of their socialist economic policies nor of violent actions carried out by their members. [49] All of those who were imprisoned solely for belonging to a banned organization would be freed, [50] including Nelson Mandela; [51] the latter was released a week later. [52] He also announced the lifting of the Separate Amenities Act of 1953, which governed the segregation of public facilities. [53] The vision set forth in de Klerk's address was for South Africa to become a Western-style liberal democracy; [54] with a market-oriented economy which valued private enterprise and restricted the government's role in economics. [55]

De Klerk later related that "that speech was mainly aimed at breaking our stalemate in Africa and the West. Internationally we were teetering on the edge of the abyss." [56] Throughout South Africa and across the world, there was astonishment at de Klerk's move. [21] Foreign press coverage was largely positive and de Klerk received messages of support from other governments. [57] Tutu said that "It's incredible... Give him credit. Give him credit, I do." [21] Some black radicals regarded it as a gimmick and that it would prove to be without substance. [58] It was also received negatively by some on the white right-wing, including in the Conservative Party, who believed that de Klerk was betraying the white population. [59] [60] De Klerk believed that the sudden growth of the Conservatives and other white right-wing groups was a passing phase reflecting anxiety and insecurity. [4] These white right-wing groups were aware that they would not get what they wanted through the forthcoming negotiations, and so increasingly tried to derail the negotiations using revolutionary violence. [61] The white-dominated liberal Democratic Party, meanwhile, found itself in limbo, as de Klerk embraced much of the platform it had espoused, leaving it without a clear purpose. [62]

Further reforms followed; membership of the National Party was opened up to non-whites. [52] In June, parliament approved new legislation that repealed the Natives Land Act, 1913 and Native Trust and Land Act, 1936. [52] The Population Registration Act, which established the racial classificatory guidelines for South Africa, was rescinded. [52]

In 1990, De Klerk gave orders to end South Africa's nuclear weapons programme; the process of nuclear disarmament was essentially completed in 1991. The existence of the nuclear programme was not officially acknowledged before 1993. [63] [64]

Negotiations toward universal suffrage

I believe the new political order will and must contain the following elements: a democratic constitution, universal suffrage, no domination, equality before an independent judiciary, the protection of minorities and individual rights, freedom of religion, a healthy economy based on proven economic principles and private initiative, and a dynamic programme for better education, health services, housing and social conditions for all... I am not talking of a rosy and tranquil future, but I believe the broad mainstream of South Africans will gradually build up South Africa into a society that will be worth living and working in.

—De Klerk on a post-apartheid society [65]

President de Klerk and Nelson Mandela shake hands at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum held in Davos, 1992 Frederik de Klerk with Nelson Mandela - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 1992.jpg
President de Klerk and Nelson Mandela shake hands at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum held in Davos, 1992

His presidency was dominated by the negotiation process, mainly between his NP government and the ANC, which led to the democratization of South Africa. On 17 March 1992, De Klerk held a whites-only referendum on ending apartheid, with the result being an overwhelming "yes" vote to continue negotiations to end apartheid. [66]

Nelson Mandela was distrustful of the role played by de Klerk in the negotiations, particularly as he believed that de Klerk was knowledgeable about 'third force' attempts to foment violence in the country and destabilize the negotiations. [66] De Klerk's possible role in the 'third force' came to the attention of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but was ultimately never clarified. [67] [68] De Klerk was accused by writer Anthony Sampson of complicity in the violence among the ANC, the Inkatha Freedom Party and elements of the security forces. He also accused de Klerk of permitting his ministers to build their own criminal empires. [69]

On 17 July 1992, the Boipatong massacre by the Inkatha Freedom Party occurred, killing 45 people. The massacre caused a resurgence of international pressure against South Africa over claims of police collusion, leading to a weaker position at the negotiation tables for the National Party. [70] The Goldstone Commission concluded there was no evidence of police collusion in the massacre. [71]

On 30 April 1993, De Klerk issued an apology for the actions of the apartheid government, stating that: "It was not our intention to deprive people of their rights and to cause misery, but eventually apartheid led to just that. Insofar as to what occurred we deeply regret it... Yes we are sorry". [72] Tutu urged people to accept the apology, stating that "saying sorry is not an easy thing to do... We should be magnanimous and accept it as a magnanimous act", although Tutu was privately frustrated that de Klerk's apology had been qualified and had not gone so far as to call apartheid an intrinsically evil policy. [72]

De Klerk authorized the raid on Mthatha against suspected Azanian People's Liberation Army (APLA) fighters on 8 October 1993 that killed three teenagers and two twelve year olds. The Minister of Defence said the raid had been undertaken to pre-empt attacks by the APLA on civilians and that one of the victims had brandished a weapon. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded the raid was a "gross violation of human rights" [73]

On 10 December 1993, De Klerk and Mandela were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo for their work in ending apartheid. [74]

South Africa held its first universal elections in 1994 from 26 to 29 April. The ANC won the election with 62 percent, while the National Party received 20 percent. De Klerk became deputy president in the national unity government under Nelson Mandela.

Deputy presidency

De Klerk had been unhappy that changes had been made to the inauguration ceremony, rendering it multi-religious rather than reflecting the newly elected leader's particular denomination. [75] When he was being sworn in, and the chief justice said "So help me God", De Klerk did not repeat this, instead stating, in Afrikaans: "So help me the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit". [76]

Mandela reappointed de Klerk's finance minister, Derek Keys, and retained Chris Stals, a former member of the Broederbond, as the head of the Central Bank. [77] De Klerk supported the coalition's economic policies, stating that it "accepted a broad framework of responsible economic policies". [78]

De Klerk's working relationship with Mandela was often strained, with the former finding it difficult adjusting to the fact that he was no longer president. [79] De Klerk also felt that Mandela deliberately humiliated him, while Mandela found De Klerk to be needlessly provocative in cabinet. [79] One dispute occurred in September 1995, after Mandela gave a Johannesburg speech criticizing the National Party. Angered, De Klerk avoided Mandela until the latter requested they meet. The two ran into each other, and they publicly argued in the streets. Mandela later expressed regret for their disagreement but did not apologize for his original comments. [79] De Klerk was also having problems from within his own party, some of whose members claimed that he was neglecting the party while in the government. [79]

Many in the National Party—including many members of its executive committee—were unhappy with the other parties' agreed upon new constitution in May 1996. [79] The party had wanted the constitution to guarantee that it would be represented in the government until 2004, although it did not do so. On 9 May, De Klerk withdrew the National Party from the coalition government. [79] The decision shocked several of his six fellow Afrikaner cabinet colleagues; Pik Botha, for example, was left without a job as a result. [80] Roelf Meyer felt betrayed by de Klerk's act, while Leon Wessels thought that De Klerk had not tried hard enough to make the coalition work. [81] De Klerk declared that he would lead the National Party in vigorous opposition to Mandela's government to ensure "a proper multi-party democracy, without which there may be a danger of South Africa lapsing into the African pattern of one-party states". [81]

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The chair of the TRC, Desmond Tutu, was frustrated that De Klerk did not take responsibility for the actions of the state security services in the early 1990s. Archbishop-Tutu-medium.jpg
The chair of the TRC, Desmond Tutu, was frustrated that De Klerk did not take responsibility for the actions of the state security services in the early 1990s.

In De Klerk's view, his greatest defeat in the negotiations with Mandela had been his inability to secure a blanket amnesty for all those working for the government or state during the apartheid period. [82] De Klerk was unhappy with the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). [82] He had hoped that the TRC would be made up of an equal number of individuals from both the old and new governments, as there had been in the Chilean human rights commission. Instead, the TRC was designed to broadly reflect the wider diversity of South African society, and contained only two members who had explicitly supported apartheid, one a member of a right-wing group that had opposed de Klerk's National Party. [83] De Klerk did not object to Tutu being selected as the TRC's chair for he regarded him as politically independent of Mandela's government, but he was upset that the white Progressive Party MP Alex Boraine had been selected as its deputy chair, later saying of Boraine: "beneath an urbane and deceptively affable exterior beat the heart of a zealot and an inquisitor." [84]

De Klerk appeared before the TRC hearing to testify for Vlakplaas commanders who were accused of having committed human rights abuses during the apartheid era. He acknowledged that security forces had resorted to "unconventional strategies" in dealing with anti-apartheid revolutionaries, but that "within my knowledge and experience, they never included the authorization of assassination, murder, torture, rape, assault or the like". [84] After further evidence of said abuses was produced by the commission, De Klerk stated that he found the revelations to be "as shocking and as abhorrent as anybody else" but insisted that he and other senior party members were not willing to accept responsibility for the "criminal actions of a handful of operatives", stating that their behavior was "not authorized [and] not intended" by his government. [84] Given the widespread and systemic nature of the abuses that had taken place, as well as statements by security officers that their actions had been sanctioned by higher ranking figures, Tutu questioned how de Klerk and other government figures could not have been aware of them. [85] Tutu had hoped that de Klerk or another senior white political figure from the apartheid era would openly accept responsibility for the human rights abuses, thereby allowing South Africa to move on; this was something that de Klerk would not do. [86]

The TRC found de Klerk guilty of being an accessory to gross violations of human rights on the basis that as State President he had been told that P. W. Botha had authorized the bombing of Khotso House but had not revealed this information to the committee. [86] De Klerk challenged the TRC on this point, and it backed down. [86] When the final TRC report was released in 2002, it made a more limited accusation: that de Klerk had failed to give full disclosure about events that took place during his presidency and that in view of his knowledge about the Khotso House bombing, his statement that none of his colleagues had authorized gross human rights abuses was "indefensible". [86] In his later autobiography, De Klerk acknowledged that the TRC did significant damage to his public image. [87]

Later life

In 1994, De Klerk was elected to the American Philosophical Society. [88]

In 1997, De Klerk was offered the Harper Fellowship at Yale Law School. He declined, citing protests at the university. [89] De Klerk did, however, speak at Central Connecticut State University the day before his fellowship would have begun. [90]

De Klerk with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in 2012 Secretary Clinton Meets With Former South African President F.W. de Klerk.jpg
De Klerk with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in 2012

In 1999, De Klerk and his wife of 38 years, Marike de Klerk, were divorced following the discovery of his affair with Elita Georgiades, [91] then the wife of Tony Georgiades, a Greek shipping tycoon who had allegedly given de Klerk and the NP financial support. [92] Soon after his divorce, De Klerk and Georgiades were married. [93] His divorce and remarriage scandalised conservative South African opinion, especially among the Calvinist Afrikaners. [94] In 1999, his autobiography, The Last Trek – A New Beginning, was published. [95] In 2002, following the murder of his former wife, the manuscript of her own autobiography, A Place Where the Sun Shines Again, was submitted to de Klerk, who urged the publishers to suppress a chapter dealing with his infidelity. [96]

In 2000, De Klerk established the pro-peace FW de Klerk Foundation of which he was the chairman. De Klerk was also chairman of the Global Leadership Foundation, headquartered in London, which he set up in 2004, an organisation which works to support democratic leadership, prevent and resolve conflict through mediation and promote good governance in the form of democratic institutions, open markets, human rights and the rule of law. It does so by making available, discreetly and in confidence, the experience of former leaders to today's national leaders. It is a not-for-profit organisation composed of former heads of government and senior governmental and international organisation officials who work closely with heads of government on governance-related issues of concern to them.

On 3 December 2001, Marike de Klerk was found stabbed and strangled to death in her Cape Town flat. De Klerk, who was on a brief visit to Stockholm, Sweden, to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the Nobel Prize foundation, immediately returned to mourn his dead ex-wife. The atrocity was reportedly condemned strongly by South African president Thabo Mbeki and Winnie Mandela, among others, who openly spoke in favour of Marike de Klerk. [97] On 6 December 21-year-old security guard Luyanda Mboniswa was arrested for the murder. On 15 May 2003, he received two life sentences for murder, as well as three years for breaking into Marike de Klerk's apartment. [98]

In 2005, De Klerk quit the New National Party and sought a new political home after the NNP merged with the ruling ANC. That same year, while giving an interview to US journalist Richard Stengel, De Klerk was asked whether South Africa had turned out the way he envisioned it back in 1990. His response was:

There are a number of imperfections in the new South Africa where I would have hoped that things would be better, but on balance I think we have basically achieved what we set out to achieve. And if I were to draw balance sheets on where South Africa stands now, I would say that the positive outweighs the negative by far. There is a tendency by commentators across the world to focus on the few negatives which are quite negative, like how are we handling AIDS, like our role vis-à-vis Zimbabwe. But the positives – the stability in South Africa, the adherence to well-balanced economic policies, fighting inflation, doing all the right things in order to lay the basis and the foundation for sustained economic growth – are in place. [99]

In 2008, he repeated in a speech that "despite all the negatives facing South Africa, he was very positive about the country". [100]

In 2006, he underwent surgery for a malignant tumor in his colon. His condition deteriorated sharply, and he underwent a tracheotomy after developing respiratory problems. [101] [102] [103] He recovered and on 11 September 2006 gave a speech at Kent State University Stark Campus. [104] [105]

In January 2007, De Klerk was a speaker promoting peace and democracy in the world at the "Towards a Global Forum on New Democracies" event in Taipei, Taiwan, along with other dignitaries including Poland's Lech Wałęsa and Taiwan's president Chen Shui-Bian. [106]

De Klerk with Israeli president Reuven Rivlin in 2015 Frederik Willem de Klerk with Reuven Rivlin.jpg
De Klerk with Israeli president Reuven Rivlin in 2015

De Klerk was an Honorary Patron of the University Philosophical Society of Trinity College Dublin, and Honorary Chairman of the Prague Society for International Cooperation. [105] He also received the gold medal for Outstanding Contribution to Public Discourse from the College Historical Society of Trinity College, Dublin, for his contribution to ending apartheid.

De Klerk was also a member of the advisory board of the Global Panel Foundation [107] [ verification needed ] based in Berlin, Copenhagen, New York, Prague, Sydney and Toronto – founded by the Dutch entrepreneur Bas Spuybroek in 1988, with the support of Dutch billionaire Frans Lurvink and former Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van den Broek. The Global Panel Foundation is known for its behind-the-scenes work in public policy and the annual presentation of the Hanno R. Ellenbogen Citizenship Award with the Prague Society for International Cooperation.

De Klerk was a member of the advisory board of the WORLD.MINDS Foundation, based in Switzerland. WORLD.MINDS is known for establishing close personal ties between leaders in government, science and business.

After the inauguration of Jacob Zuma as South Africa's president in May 2009, De Klerk said he was optimistic that Zuma and his government can "confound the prophets of doom". [108]

In a BBC interview broadcast in April 2012, he said he lived in an all-white neighborhood. He had five servants, three coloured and two black: "We are one great big family together; we have the best of relationships." About Nelson Mandela, he said, "When Mandela goes it will be a moment when all South Africans put away their political differences, will take hands, and will together honour maybe the biggest known South African that has ever lived." [109]

Upon hearing of the death of Mandela, De Klerk said: "He was a great unifier and a very, very special man in this regard beyond everything else he did. This emphasis on reconciliation was his biggest legacy." [110] He attended the memorial service for him on 10 December 2013.

In 2015, De Klerk wrote to The Times newspaper in the UK criticizing a campaign to remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes from Oriel College, Oxford. [111] He was subsequently criticized by some activists who described it as "ironic" that the last apartheid president should be defending a statue of a man labelled by critics as the "architect of apartheid". [112] South Africa's far-left Economic Freedom Fighters called for him to be stripped of his Nobel Peace Prize. [113] In 2020, De Klerk told an interviewer that the description of apartheid as a "crime against humanity" "was and remains an agitprop project initiated by the Soviets and their ANC/SACP allies to stigmatize white South Africans by associating them with genuine crimes against humanity." [114] This generated controversy in South Africa, [114] and further calls for the removal of his Nobel Prize. [115] De Klerk's Foundation retracted his statement several days later. [114]

Illness and death

Allow me in this last message to share with you the fact that since the early 80s, my views changed completely. It was as if I had a conversion. And in my heart of hearts, I realized that apartheid was wrong. I realized that we had arrived at a place which was morally unjustifiable. My conversion, to which I refer didn't end with the admission to myself of the total unacceptability of apartheid. It motivated us in the National Party to take the initiatives we took from the time that I became leader of the National Party. And more specifically, during my presidency. We did not only admit the wrongness of apartheid, we took far-reaching measures to ensure negotiation and a new dispensation which could bring justice to all.

—F. W. de Klerk's final message [116]

On 19 March 2021, it was announced that de Klerk had been diagnosed with mesothelioma. [117] He died from complications of the disease in his sleep at his home in Cape Town on 11 November 2021, at the age of 85. [118] [119] [120] He was the last surviving State President of South Africa.

After his death, a video message from de Klerk was released from the FW de Klerk Foundation, apologizing "without qualification" for the harm caused from apartheid and pleading that the government and all South Africans would embrace the constitution in a balanced manner while also promoting economic growth, guarding the independence and impartiality of the courts, as well as promoting non-racialism and non-discrimination in South Africa. [121] [122]

On 16 November 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a four-day mourning period for de Klerk and ordered for all of the national South African flags to fly at half-mast from 17 to 21 November "as a mark of respect." [123] Though the de Klerk family determined that he would have a private cremation and funeral, the South African government agreed to hold a state memorial service for de Klerk "in which government leaders, leaders of political parties and representatives of civil society will participate" at a later date. [123] The state memorial service was held in Cape Town on 12 December 2021, and saw Ramaphosa deliver the keynote speech. [124]

Political positions

Bust of de Klerk at the Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria FW de Klerk Bust.jpeg
Bust of de Klerk at the Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria

De Klerk was widely regarded as a politically conservative figure in South Africa. [30] At the same time, he was flexible rather than dogmatic in his approach to political issues. [30] He often hedged his bets and sought to accommodate divergent perspectives, [34] favouring compromise over confrontation. [125] Within the National Party, he continually strove for unity, coming to be regarded—according to his brother—as "a party man, a veritable Mr National Party". [30] To stem defections from the right-wing end of the National Party, he made "ultra-conservative noises". [34] This general approach led to the perception that he was "trying to be all things to all men". [125]

De Klerk stated that within the party, he "never formed part of a political school of thought, and I deliberately kept out of the cliques and foments of the enlightened and conservative factions in the party. If the policy I propounded was ultra-conservative, then that was the policy; it was not necessarily I who was ultra-conservative. I saw my role in the party as that of an interpreter of the party's real median policy at any stage." [126] De Klerk stated that "The silver thread throughout my career was my advocacy of National Party policy in all its various formulations. I refrained from adjusting that policy or adapting it to my own liking or convictions. I analyzed it as it was formulated, to the letter." [126]

For much of his career, De Klerk believed in apartheid and its system of racial segregation. [32] According to his brother, De Klerk underwent a "political conversion" that took him from supporting apartheid to facilitating its demolition. This change was not "a dramatic event" however, but "was built... on pragmatism – it evolved as a process." [127] He did not believe that South Africa would become a "non-racial society", but rather sought to build a "non-racist society" in ethnic divisions remained; in his view "I do not believe in the existence of anything like a non-racial society in the literal sense of the word", citing the example of the United States and United Kingdom where there was no legal racial segregation but that distinct racial groups continued to exist. [128]

De Klerk accepted the principle of freedom of religion, although still believed that the state should promote Christianity. [129]

De Klerk wrote in opposition to gender-based violence, arguing that "holding perpetrators accountable, irrespective of how long ago the crime was committed, is essential to stamping out impunity and preventing future atrocities". [130]

Personality and personal life

Glad and Blanton stated that de Klerk's "political choices were undergirded by self-confidence and commitment to the common good." [131] His brother Willem stated that de Klerk's demeanour was marked by "soberness, humility and calm", [132] that he was an honest, intelligent, and open minded individual, [133] and that he had a "natural cordiality" and a "solid sense of courtesy and good manners". [134] He felt that de Klerk's "charisma" came not from an "exceptionally strong individualism" but from "his rationality, logic and balance". [135] He was, according to de Klerk, "a man of compromise rather than a political innovator or entrepreneur". [136]

Willem stated that "he keeps an ear to the ground and is sensitive to the slightest tremors", and that it was this which made him "a superb politician". [137] Willem also stated that his brother was "a team-man who consults others, takes them into his confidence, honestly shares information with his colleagues, and has a knack of making people feel importance and at peace". [134] His former wife Marike described de Klerk as being "extremely sensitive to beautiful things", exhibiting something akin to an artistic temperament. [10]

Willem also noted that "in the most profound sense", De Klerk was driven by his concern for Afrikanerdom and "the survival of his own people in their fatherland". [4] De Klerk was deeply upset that many Afrikaners did not realise that his reforms to dismantle apartheid were carried out with the intention of preserving a future for the Afrikaner people in South Africa. [138]

With Marike, De Klerk had three children: Susan, who became a teacher, Jan, who became a farmer in Western Transvaal, and Willem, who went into public relations. [139] Willem stated that de Klerk had a close relationship with his children, [23] and that he was "a loving man who hugs and cuddles". [140]

De Klerk was a heavy smoker but gave up smoking towards the end of 2005. [141] He also enjoyed a glass of whisky or wine while relaxing. [142] He enjoyed playing golf and hunting, as well as going for brisk walks. [142]

Reception and legacy

Glad and Blanton stated that de Klerk, along with Mandela, "accomplished the rare feat of bringing about systemic revolution through peaceful means." [143] His brother noted that de Klerk's role in South African history was "to dismantle more than three centuries of white supremacy", and that in doing so his was "not a role of white surrender, but a role of white conversion to a new role" in society. [144] In September 1990, Potchefstroom University awarded de Klerk an honorary doctorate. [29]

South Africa's Conservative Party came to regard him as its most hated adversary. [34]

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Marike de Klerk was the First Lady of South Africa, as the wife of State President Frederik Willem de Klerk, from 1989–1994. She was also a politician of the former governing National Party in her own right. De Klerk was murdered in her Cape Town home in 2001.

Pieter G. J. Koornhof, was a South African politician. As an apartheid-era National Party cabinet minister, he held various portfolios in the cabinets of B.J. Vorster and P.W. Botha, and was later appointed ambassador to the United States. After the end of apartheid, he joined the African National Congress in 2001.

The National Intelligence Service (NIS) is a defunct intelligence agency of the Republic of South Africa that replaced the older Bureau of State Security (BOSS) in 1980. Associated with the Apartheid era in South Africa, it was replaced on 1 January 1995 by the South African Secret Service and the National Intelligence Agency with the passage of the Intelligence Act (1994).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nelson Mandela</span> President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid activist and politician who served as the first president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by fostering racial reconciliation. Ideologically an African nationalist and socialist, he served as the president of the African National Congress (ANC) party from 1991 to 1997.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Netherlands–South Africa relations</span> Bilateral relations

Netherlands–South Africa refers to the current and historical relations between the Netherlands and South Africa. Both nations share historic ties and have a long-standing special relationship, partly due to the Dutch colony in the Cape, linguistic similarity between Dutch and Afrikaans and the Netherlands’ staunch support in the struggle against Apartheid.

<i>Mandela and de Klerk</i> American TV series or program

Mandela and de Klerk is a 1997 made-for-television drama film written by Richard Wesley and directed by Joseph Sargent. The film stars Sidney Poitier and Michael Caine. The film documents the negotiations between F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela to end South African apartheid, and was nominated for numerous awards in 1997 and 1998. It originally premiered on Showtime on February 16, 1997.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Speech at the Opening of the Parliament of South Africa, 1990</span> 1990 speech by South African president F. W. de Klerk

On 2 February 1990, the State President of South Africa F. W. de Klerk delivered a speech at the opening of the 1990 session of the Parliament of South Africa in Cape Town in which he announced sweeping reforms that marked the beginning of the negotiated transition from apartheid to constitutional democracy. The reforms promised in the speech included the unbanning of the African National Congress (ANC) and other anti-apartheid organisations, the release of political prisoners including Nelson Mandela, the end of the state of emergency, and a moratorium on the death penalty.

Jacobus Hercules "Koos" van der Merwe is a South African former politician. He was a member of the South African Parliament, representing the National Party, Conservative Party and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP). He was a member of the House of Assembly and later the South African National Assembly between 1977 and 2014, being the longest serving member of Parliament at the time of his retirement.


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  • Allen, John (2006). Rabble-Rouser for Peace: The Authorised Biography of Desmond Tutu. London: Rider. ISBN   978-1-84604-064-1.
  • de Klerk, Willem (1991). F. W. de Klerk: The Man in his Time. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball Publishers. ISBN   978-0-947464-36-3.
  • Glad, Betty; Blanton, Robert (1997). "F. W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela: A Study in Cooperative Transformational Leadership". Presidential Studies Quarterly. 27 (3): 565–590. JSTOR   27551769.
  • Sampson, Anthony (2011) [1999]. Mandela: The Authorised Biography. London: HarperCollins. ISBN   978-0-00-743797-9.

Further reading

F. W. de Klerk
Frederik Willem de Klerk, 1990.jpg
de Klerk in 1990
7th State President of South Africa
In office
14 August 1989 10 May 1994
Preceded byHendrik Smit
Succeeded byJohannes Petrus van der Spuy
Political offices
Preceded by State President of South Africa
Succeeded byas President of South Africa
New title Deputy President of South Africa
Served alongside: Thabo Mbeki
Succeeded by