- FW de Klerk recently attempted the reframe the damage done by apartheid in South Africa
- This prompted national outrage against the former president, further inflamed by his attempt to double down on his claims
- Briefly.co.za explores how this attempt impacted the aged politician's legacy
The hype over former president FW de Klerk's controversial comments on apartheid may well have simmered down, but the impact on his legacy remains.
De Klerk managed to propel himself into the spotlight when he denied that apartheid was a crime against humanity, adamant that the brutalities of the regime had been misunderstood and misappropriated.
Despite the uproar over these statements, his foundation had released a statement insisting that apartheid hadn't been a crime against humanity.
Instead, it slammed the conclusion as false insisting that it was a “project initiated by the Soviets and their ANC/SACP allies to stigmatise white South Africans by associating them with genuine crimes against humanity—which have generally included totalitarian repression and the slaughter of millions of people”.
However, the International Criminal Court declared otherwise in 2002, declaring that apartheid was the same as other crimes against humanity “committed in the context of an institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime”.
After the EFF disrupted the State of the Nation Address to condemn the 'murderer' in their midst and later called for his Nobel Peace Prize to be revoked, the FW de Klerk Foundation was prompted to apologise:
“I agree with the Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation that this is not the time to quibble about the degrees of the unacceptability of apartheid. It was totally unacceptable. The FW de Klerk Foundation has accordingly decided to withdraw its statement of 14 February unconditionally and apologises for the confusion, anger and hurt that it has caused.”
However, this has undoubtedly signalled the beginning of the end for the former president. Citizens and activists have called for a boycott against him.
Quartz Africa reports that while some will purchase his book, attend speeches and maybe even donate to the foundation, his acclaim is falling.
The consequences of his belief that the oppressive regime was not a crime against humanity have undeniably contributed to this.
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