Former South African president FW de Klerk dies

Image copyright AFP Image caption FW de Klerk in 2011, when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize Former South African president FW de Klerk has died, aged 85. He was health minister when…

Former South African president FW de Klerk dies

Image copyright AFP Image caption FW de Klerk in 2011, when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

Former South African president FW de Klerk has died, aged 85.

He was health minister when he won the country’s first democratic election in 1994 and went on to serve as president for two years.

Critics accused him of not doing enough to end the apartheid regime.

He went on to serve as one of the Nobel Peace Prize co-winners in 1994.

“President De Klerk will be remembered as one of the greatest peacemakers in the 20th century, fighting to end apartheid and to reconcile a divided nation,” South Africa’s ruling African National Congress said in a statement.

President Cyril Ramaphosa also paid tribute to “a man who fought for freedom” and “worked tirelessly” for reconciliation and unity after apartheid ended.

Image copyright AFP Image caption FW de Klerk (L) and FW de Klerk in the southern Indian Ocean island of Madagascar in 1979

Image copyright AFP Image caption De Klerk and FW de Klerk attend an official reception in Bangkok in 2008

Image copyright AFP Image caption De Klerk speaks during a remembrance ceremony at KIova state cemetery in 2008

What is Walter de Klerk?

At the outbreak of the Suez Crisis in 1956 he became the youngest foreign minister in a democratically-elected government.

He was born Walter Frederik De Klerk in 1888 to a farming family on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth.

Mr De Klerk took a law degree at the University of South Africa in 1936 and worked as a journalist before becoming one of the founding editors of The Nationalist, South Africa’s leading weekly newspaper from 1947.

Image copyright AFP Image caption FW de Klerk in August 1985

Image copyright AFP Image caption FW de Klerk and Oliver Tambo in June 1985

Image copyright AFP Image caption FW de Klerk attends a memorial service at Freedom Hill in Limpopo province in January 2011

Image copyright AFP Image caption FW de Klerk waves to workers during his visit to the eastern fishing town of Polokwane in March 2018

Image copyright AFP Image caption FW de Klerk leaves the Royal Western Cape Hospital in Cape Town in November 2013

Image copyright AFP Image caption FW de Klerk waves goodbye to school children in December 2014

Who was FW de Klerk’s successor?

In 1989, Mr De Klerk agreed to chair the negotiations that eventually led to the country’s first democratic elections.

He was then elected South Africa’s first black president in 1994.

Manfred Hainberg, a sociologist at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, described him as a “great statesman”.

He added: “At no time has his legacy been called into question. It is impossible for us to do that in today’s South Africa.”

Nevertheless, many critics accused him of failing to roll back apartheid and openly campaigned against white rule and apartheid, he was widely regarded as a “sellout”.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption FW de Klerk takes a selfie with three women during a visit to Khayelitsha township in November 2010

Image copyright Reuters Image caption FW de Klerk delivers a lecture at New York University in 2007

Image copyright Reuters Image caption FW de Klerk looks up to fellow Nobel laureate Professor Desmond Tutu during a speech at the Pan African Congress on 26 January 2001

Image copyright Reuters Image caption FW de Klerk in the capital Pretoria in 2000

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption FW de Klerk shakes hands with the world’s most prominent businessman, Bill Gates at a press conference in May 2000

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption FW de Klerk (L) and Thabo Mbeki (R) arrive for a memorial service to mark Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday at the Constitution Hill Peace and Unity Centre in June 2013

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