Nelson Mandela Foundation

Date: 11 November 2021
From: Nelson Mandela Foundation

The Nelson Mandela Foundation is saddened to hear of the passing of F W de Klerk. We send our condolences to his wife Elita and their family.

De Klerk will forever be linked to Nelson Mandela in the annals of South African history. As head of state, he oversaw the release of Madiba from prison on 11 February 1990. In 1993 they were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace prize for ushering in a negotiated settlement that led to South Africa holding its first democratic election in 1994. De Klerk also served as deputy president of South Africa in Madiba’s government of national unity until he resigned in 1996.

Over the years we worked productively with him and the De Klerk Foundation on a number of projects.

Speaking at De Klerk’s 70th birthday celebrations, Madiba said:

“You and I have had our differences, some of them very public. Our basic respect for one another has, however, never diminished. And it was that respect for the other irrespective of all differences that made it possible for us, and our organisations, to work together and to negotiate that historic compromise that the world marvelled at. If we two old, or ageing, men have any lessons for our country and for the world, it is that solutions to conflicts can only be found if adversaries are fundamentally prepared to accept the integrity of one other.”

De Klerk’s legacy is a big one. It is also an uneven one, something South Africans are called to reckon with in this moment.


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