Frederic Willem de Klerk, the last white president of South Africa, has died at the age of 85. During his presidential years from 1989 to 1994, de Klerk adopted increasingly open policies toward the black majority and led South Africa toward a non-white government. In 1990, after 27 years in prison, it was announced that Nelson Mandela was released. Together with Mandela, he was awarded the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end apartheid and seek a democratic transition.
De Klerk was born in Johannesburg, the capital, in 1936. He came from a family of white politicians, closely related to the South African Nationalist Party, which adopted and then supported most of the apartheid policies that created apartheid. De Klerk also grew up in that environment.
He studied law at a Christian university in South Africa, and his political career officially began in 1972, when he was elected a member of Parliament for the National Party, and became minister in 1978 and leader of the party in 1989, the year in which he also became president. .
De Klerk was convinced of the necessity of dialogue with the black majority, rather than continuing to keep them separate. Among his most famous speeches is the one he gave in the South African Parliament on February 2, 1990, in which he announced a radical change in relations between whites and blacks, which should have given shape to the “new South Africa”. One of the most important decisions he made during his presidency, as mentioned, was the release of Mandela, with whom relations became more complex in the following years.
In 1994, after Mandela was elected president, he served as vice president, until 1996, then moved to the opposition.
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