Former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Frederic Willem de Klerk has passed away. De Klerk, who began the abolition of apartheid in South Africa in 1989 through a path of radical reform and abolished it with Nelson Mandela, died at the age of 85, FW-de said-Klerk said Thursday.
He was said to have surrendered peacefully to fighting the disease at his home in the tourist city of Cape Town on Thursday morning. De Klerk’s name is forever closely associated with that of Mandela, with whom he led the transition from apartheid to democracy and with whom he shared the Nobel Prize. The country was isolated internationally due to the systematic segregation of blacks and whites in the 1980s.
De Klerk was with Mandela as a man in a peaceful transition – even if later, similar to Mandela, began to re-evaluate his historical merits.
De Klerk: A “disaster” averted
De Klerk has always been considered a very conservative and an advocate of apartheid. Mandela described him in his autobiography: “He seemed like the epitome of a man in the state apparatus.” “Nothing in his past seems to suggest a shadow of the spirit of reform.”
Twenty years later, de Klerk later said his decision to avoid “disaster,” freed whites from their “isolation and guilt” and enabled blacks to achieve “dignity and equality.”
Receiving the Nobel Peace Prize Together
In October 1993, de Klerk and Mandela were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their readiness for reconciliation, their “personal integrity and great political courage”. In the first democratic elections in 1994, Mandela’s ANC won, as expected, with 62% of the vote, and de Clerks’ NP with 20% of the vote.
In the unity government headed by Mandela, de Klerk became one of the two vice presidents, but soon lost influence. The foundation announced that de Klerk left behind his wife, Elita, children, Jean and Suzanne, and grandchildren.
“Food practitioner. Bacon guru. Infuriatingly humble zombie enthusiast. Total student.”