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F. W. de Klerk

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Frederik Willem de Klerk
7th State President of South Africa
In office
20 September 1989 – 9 May 1994
Preceded byPieter Willem Botha
Succeeded byNelson Mandela
As President of South Africa
1st Deputy President of South Africa
In office
10 May 1994 – 30 June 1996
Serving with Thabo Mbeki
PresidentNelson Mandela
Preceded byOffice Established
Succeeded byThabo Mbeki (solely)
Personal details
Born(1936-03-18)18 March 1936
Johannesburg, Transvaal, Union of South Africa
Died11 November 2021(2021-11-11) (aged 85)
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
NationalitySouth African
Political partyNational Party
New National Party
Spouse(s)Marike Willemse (1959–1998)
Elita Georgiades (1998–2021)
ChildrenJan de Klerk
Willem de Klerk
Susan de Klerk
Alma materPotchefstroom University

Frederik Willem de Klerk (18 March 1936 – 11 November 2021) was a South African politician.[1] He was the president of South Africa from 1989 to 1994. In 1993, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace with Nelson Mandela.[2] They were given the prize for peacefully ending apartheid and setting up a new government in South Africa. From 1994 to 1996 he was vice president of South Africa. In 1997, he retired from politics. In 2004, he left the New National Party, when it became known that it wanted to unite with the African National Congress to form a single party.

De Klerk studied to be an attorney. He finished his studies in 1958. As a student, he joined the National Party. After obtaining his degree, he was their legal counsel, until 1972. From his first marriage with Marike Willemse he has three children. Since 1998, he has been married to Elita Georgiades.

Biography[change | change source]

FW de Klerk was born in Johannesburg in 1936. He is the son of Johannes de Klerk (1903-1979) and Hendrina Cornelia de Klerk (1904-2001), who died just four months before the death of his former daughter Marike Willemse and his brother to Wimpie de Klerk (1928-2009). His family, whose name comes from the French surname "Le Clerc," "Le Clercq" or "de Clercq" is of Huguenot origin. He settled in the country in 1686, a few months after the Revocation of the Nantes edict, and participated in various events in the history of Afrikaner. Their ancestors participated in the Grand Trek on the train led by Piet Retief to get rid of the British rule. In 1838, three members of the Klerk family were also killed with Retief in King Kraal of Zulu, Dingane. Later, during the Second Boer War (1899-1902), the grandfather FW of Klerk was captured twice by the British before being a founding member of the National Party in 1914, alongside James Barry Hertzog. According to genealogist Keith Meintjies and confirmed by FW by Klerk, the latter is also in accordance with Krotoa (Eva), a female Khoi, who served as interpreter for the Dutch colonists during the founding of the Colony of the Head.

Member of the Reformed Dutch Church, FW by Klerk, is the youngest son, Jan Klerk, the head of the school and minister with various portfolios (1954-1969) and Senate chairman (1969-1976), the nephew of JG Strijdom, the head of the South African Government 1954 until 1958. His older brother Wimpie de Klerk is a political analyst and co-founder of the Democratic Party in 1989.

High School in Krugersdorp, a suburb of Johannesburg, FW by Klerk has a honors degree from the University of Potchefstroom in 1958. In 1959 he married Marike Willemse (1937-2001), with whom he will raise three children adopted ). The couple, F. W. and Marike de Klerk, divorced in 1998.

During university studies, he joined the National Party and became a member of Broderbond.

A lawyer in Vereeniging, south of Transvaal, refused in 1972 the public law seat at Potchefstroom University to run for general elections.

On 19 March 2021, de Klerk announced that had been diagnosed with mesothelioma.[3] Eight months later on 11 November, he died from the disease in his sleep at his home in Cape Town at the age of 85.[4][5][6]

References[change | change source]

  1. "F.W. de Klerk - Biography". nobelprize.org. 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  2. "The Nobel Peace Prize 1993". nobelprize.org. 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  3. Rondganger, Lee (March 19, 2021). "FW de Klerk diagnosed with cancer, undergoes treatment". Independent Online. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  4. "FW de Klerk: South Africa's former president dies at 85". BBC News. 11 November 2021. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  5. Lacey, Marc (2021-11-11). "F.W. de Klerk, Last President of Apartheid South Africa, Dies at 85". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-11-11.
  6. Frankel, Glenn (11 November 2021). "F.W. de Klerk, South African Nobel Prize winner for opening government, dies at 85". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2021-11-11.