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ELECTION 2022

South Africa's last white president, FW de Klerk, dies at home

AFRICA
By Reuters | Nov 11th 2021 | 1 min read

South Africa's last white president Frederik Willem (FW) de Klerk died on Thursday morning at his home in Cape Town, the FW de Klerk Foundation said in a statement.

"Former President FW de Klerk died peacefully at his home in Fresnaye earlier this morning following his struggle against mesothelioma cancer," the statement said.

The 85-year-old served as president from 1989 to 1994 and as deputy president from 1994 to 1996.

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.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa to an influential Afrikaner family, de Klerk studied at Potchefstroom University before pursuing a career in law.

Joining the National Party, to which he had family ties, he was elected to parliament and sat in the white-minority government of P W Botha, holding a succession of ministerial posts.

As a minister, 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. 

 

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