Frederik Willem de Klerk OMG DMS is a retired South African politician, who served as State President of South Africa from 1989 to 1994 and as Deputy President from 1994 to 1996.
FW de Klerk was born on March 18, 1936, in Johannesburg in South Africa. He was married to Elita Georgiadis. They have been married for twenty-three (23) years with three beautiful children; Susan de Klerk, Willem de Klerk, and Jan de Klerk.
FW de Klerk was the Leader of the Opposition of the Republic of South Africa from 1996-1997. He was head of state between September 1989 and May 1994. In 1990 he announced he was releasing anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, leading to multi-party polls in 1994.
He supported and enforced apartheid, a system of racial segregation that privileged white South Africans. After Botha resigned in 1989, de Klerk replaced him, first as leader of the National Party and then as State President.
As South Africa’s last head of state from the era of white-minority rule, he and his government dismantled the apartheid system and introduced universal suffrage. De Klerk negotiated with Mandela to fully dismantle apartheid and establish a transition to universal suffrage. In 1993, he publicly apologized for apartheid’s harmful effects, but not for apartheid itself.
He ended the apartheid system because Black South Africans were denied many basic rights. Some joined together in a group called the African National Congress (ANC) to fight for their rights
De Klerk is a controversial figure. He received many awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize with Mr. Mandela for leading the “miracle” transition from white rule in the country. However, his role in the transition to democracy has always been highly contested.
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