Even if you do not have a soft spot for politics, the name FW de Klerk is familiar to you! His is a household name among the netizens of Mzansi. He is popular for serving as the president of South Africa from 1989 to 1994. Something peculiar about this renowned politician is that he was the last president under the apartheid rule. He is remembered for initiating the end of the apartheid system of racial segregation as well as negotiating a transition to majority rule in the country.
Mandela and de Klerk both were honoured with the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1993 because of their dire efforts to initiate a non-racial democracy in the country. He opposed P.W. Botha for resumption in the office of Presidency South Africa after he fell ill. His political success is a result of the power base he had established in Transvaal when he held the position of chairman, Provincial National Party.
- Full names: Frederik Willem de Klerk
- Popular name: FW de Klerk
- Year of birth: March 18, 1936
- Age: 83 years
- Nationality: South African
- Gender: Male
The former South Africa president was born on March 18, 1938. The FW de Klerk family has a history in politics as his father, Johannes de Klerk, was a popular politician. In 1958, he graduated from Potchefstroom University with a law degree. After completing his undergraduate studies, he established his law firm in Vereeniging and practised for a few years.
In 1972, he was elected to the Parliament under the National Party. He then held various ministerial posts between 1978 and 1985, such as Minister of Posts & Telecommunications, Sports & Recreation, Mines, Energy & Environmental Planning, and Internal Affairs and others. From 1982 to 1989, he became the National Party leader in the Transvaal province. From 1984 to 1989, he was the Minister of National Education & Planning. In 1986, he was appointed as the South African House of Assembly leader.
In 1989, de Klerk was elected as the national leader of the National Party, and on September 15, 1989, he was sworn in as the president of South Africa. In 1990, he announced that he would legalise the ANC and free Nelson Mandela, which was effected within weeks. In 1993, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Interesting to note, in 1994, during the first South African's multi-racial democratic elections, his party lost to the African National Congress under Nelson Mandela. He then assumed the second deputy position in the new government until 1996. In 1997, he resigned from politics. In June 2006, de Klerk was hospitalized due to respiratory complications after undergoing colon cancer surgery. In 2013, he was hospitalized and had a pacemaker installed.
Here are some of his achievements:
- He announced that he would legalize the ANC and free Nelson Mandela in 1990.
- He embraced a new constitution that brought the apartheid system to an end in 1993.
- He was part of the team that helped South Africa land the 2010 World Cup in 2004.
- He was honoured with the FW de Klerk Nobel peace prize together with Nelson Mandela in 1993.
The former SA president first wife was Marike de Klerk. She was a politician under the National Party, and in 2001, she was murdered in her house in Cape Town. The politician then married Elita Georgiades in 1998.
FW de Klerk Foundation
In 1999, he published his autobiography known as The Last Trek. In 2000, he established the FW de Klerk Foundation and the Global Leadership Foundation in 2004. The NGO constitution is geared towards peace in societies that are divided based on ethnic, cultural, or religious lines, which is ample for the society.
FW de Klerk quotes
Here are some of his quotes:
The question that we must ask is whether we are making progress toward the goal of universal peace. Or are we caught up on a treadmill of history, turning forever on the axle of mindless aggression and self-destruction?
I have made the most profound apology in front of the Truth Commission and on other occasions, about the injustices which were wrought by apartheid.
Above all, we owe it to the children of the world to stop the conflicts and to create new horizons for them.
In our quest for peace, we should constantly ask ourselves what we should do to create conditions in which peace can prosper.
I believe that first impressions are very important.
The relationship between me and President Mandela right at the beginning was not a very well-established relationship. It was based on two meetings.
President Mandela was not a hands-on president at any time.
For many years, I supported the concept of separate states.
I felt a sense of fulfillment that an action plan, which I'd laid on the table on February 2 1990, had been fulfilled, had been properly implemented within the time frame which I envisaged.
You cannot say we are a healthy, dynamic democracy when one party wins almost two-thirds of the vote.
When I talk about the end of apartheid, I prefer not to claim the honor that I have ended it.
What I haven't apologised for is the original concept of seeking to bring justice to all South Africans through the concept of nation states.
It was an honour for me to have been able to work with Mr. Mandela in the process that led to the adoption of the interim constitution and our first democratic elections in April 1994.
My predecessor, P. W. Botha, had an inner circle, and I did not like it. I preferred decisions to evolve out of cabinet discussions. That way, we achieved real co-ownership of our policies.
The government that came into power after the April 1994 elections was going to need a budget. It was drafted by our finance minister, Derek Keys, and he convinced them of the necessity to stay within the free-market principles that had been in force in South Africa for decades.
When I first met Mandela, we did not discuss anything of substance; we just felt each other out. He spent a long time expressing his admiration for the Boer generals and how ingenious they were during the Anglo-Boer war.
FW de Klerk net worth
His net worth is estimated to be about $46 million. His wealth is attributed to his political career, his Nobel Peace Prize award, and also the fact that he came from a wealthy family. His house is located in Cape Town, South Africa, where he resides with his family.
FW de Klerk is vividly remembered as one of the presidents of South Africa who made history. His key role in ending the apartheid rule in his era is notable as it brought change to the country's political arena and freedom to the Mzansi people.