Key Things de Klerk Who Just Died at 85 Will Be Remembered for

FW de Klerk. BBC

A former president of South Africa between September 1989 and May 1994, FW de Klerk, has died. He was 85. Earlier this year, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer.
One of the first things that the country and the world will never forget about him was that in 1990 he announced the release of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela. That paved way for multi-party polls in 1994.
For what he did, therefore, he and Mandela shared the Nobel Peace Prize later.
A statement from the former president’s FW de Klerk Foundation on Thursday said that he died peacefully at his home in Cape Town following his struggle against mesothelioma cancer.
The foundation had announced the diagnosis – cancer that affects the lining of the lungs – in June. He is survived by his wife Elita, his children Jan and Susan and his grandchildren, the statement said.
Former President de Klerk was born in March 1936 in Johannesburg, into a line of Afrikaner politicians. He worked as a lawyer and served in a series of ministerial posts before taking over from PW Botha as the head of the National Party in February 1989.
Apart from telling Parliamnet, he was removing the ban on parties including the banned African National Congress (ANC), the icing on the cake was his release of Mandela, the arrowhead of the anti-apartheid struggles, after 27 years.
Mr de Klerk’s action helped bring an end to apartheid-era South Africa, and he became one of the country’s two deputy presidents after the multi-party elections in 1994 that saw Mr Mandela become president.
He retired from politics in 1997 saying: “I am resigning because I am convinced it is in the best interest of the party and the country.”

Although the relationship between Mr de Klerk and Mr Mandela was often punctuated by bitter disagreements, the new president, as BBC put it, described the man he succeeded as someone of great integrity.

However, many black South Africans have blamed him for failing to curb violence during his time in power.