THE LEGACY OF FW DE KLERK

FW de Klerk became acting State President of South Africa on 15 August 1989 after the resignation of his predecessor, President PW Botha. He served as State President from his inauguration on 20 September 1989 until the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela on 10 May 1994.

“Our goal is a new South Africa, a totally changed South Africa; a South Africa which has rid itself of the antagonism of the past…”
FW de Klerk

LEGACY NEWS

12 November 2021

FW DE KLERK’S FINAL MESSAGE

Former President FW de Klerk died peacefully at his home in Fresnaye on 11 November 2021 following his struggle against mesothelioma cancer. This is his final message of farewell to all South Africans.

20 SEPTEMBER 1989 – 10 MAY 1994

THE FW DE KLERK PRESIDENCY

FW de Klerk served as State President of South Africa from 20 September 1989, until the inauguration of President Mandela on 10 May 1994. His presidency was notable primarily for the following achievements:

  • The constitutional transformation of South Africa. FW de Klerk dedicated his presidency to the negotiation of a new non-racial and inclusive constitutional democracy;
  • The final abolition of apartheid. By June 1991, President De Klerk completed the task of repealing all apartheid legislation that had been initiated by his predecessor, President PW Botha;
  • The dismantling of South Africa’s nuclear weapons. Early in his presidency, President De Klerk ordered the dismantling of South Africa’s nuclear weapons and its accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. He remains the only leader who has ever abolished a nuclear weapons capability developed by his own country.

For his role in abolishing apartheid and in initiating the constitutional transformation of South Africa, FW de Klerk was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, together with Nelson Mandela, on 10 December 1993.

18 MARCH 1936 – 11 NOVEMBER 2021

FW DE KLERK LEGACY

CONTROVERSIES

FW de Klerk was the target of countless baseless attacks during his presidency and throughout his retirement. These attacks centred on the following issues:

 BOOKS BY FW DE KLERK

FW DE KLERK THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY

The Last Trek – A New Beginning

FW de Klerk’s autobiography – published by Macmillan, London, in 1999 and by Human & Rousseau, in the same year in Afrikaans. The latest paperback edition of the book is available through the FW de Klerk Foundation.

Order now >>

Letters to Nelson Mandela

Imaginary letters from FW de Klerk to Nelson Mandela – also available in French. 

Order now >>

The FW de Klerk Foundation Annual Conference 2024

The FW de Klerk Foundation Annual Conference – hosted in conjunction with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation South Africa.