About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

De Klerk, Willem

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For many years Willem de Klerk has been noted as one of South Africa's leading political commentators and internationally recognised as an authoritative political analyst and consultant.

Willem has never been afraid of airing his political views even when these views were contrary to those of the current ruling party. In the eighties he expressed views, well in advance of the great events in 1990, that worked towards the dismantling of the Apartheid era. He was then already involved in discussions with the ANC (African National Congress) regarding the new political dispensation.

He holds degrees in Philosophy, Psychology and a doctorate in Pastoral Theology for which he studied at the University of Leiden in Holland. After ten years as a minister of religion he became Professor of Philosophy at Potchefstroom University. From there Willem pursued a career in the newspaper world. From 1973 to 1982 he was editor of Die Transvaler, and after that held the editorial post of another influential Afrikaans newspaper, Rapport, for five years. As chief spokesman for the verligte (enlightened) movement in Afrikaner politics, Willem frequently found himself at odds with the mainstream National Party (NP) thinking and thus resigned from his post as editor of Rapport.

He continued his career as a Professor in the Department of Communications at the Rand Afrikaans University, as a political consultant, and as a highly respected author.

Always operating independently from the wings of the South African political stage, Willem de Klerk has made a significant contribution to South African politics.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.