Apology accepted? SA weighs in on FW de Klerk's final message

12 November 2021 - 10:16
By Kyle Zeeman
Former president FW de Klerk apologised for his role in apartheid. File Photo.
Image: Reuters/Sumaya Hisham Former president FW de Klerk apologised for his role in apartheid. File Photo.

South Africans have shared their thoughts on former president FW de Klerk's apology for his role in apartheid, with many saying it was not enough.

De Klerk died on Thursday at his home in Cape Town at the age of 85. His death was confirmed in a statement by his foundation on Thursday.

The last white ruler of SA, De Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 with Nelson Mandela “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic SA”.

He ruled over the final years of apartheid between 1989 and 1994. His legacy has been the subject of fierce debate on social media after his death.

In a video released by his foundation shortly after his death, De Klerk said he was often accused by critics of justifying apartheid.

“It is true that in my younger years I defended separate development. Afterwards, on many occasions, I apologised to the South African public for the pain and indignity that apartheid has brought to people of colour in SA. Many believed me, but others didn't.”

He again apologised, as the former leader of the National Party and in his personal capacity.

“I, without qualification, apologise for the pain and hurt and the indignity and the damage that apartheid has done to black, brown, and Indians in SA,” he says in the video. 

While some accepted the apology, others claimed he did not adequately denounce the system in his address or acknowledge the atrocities that took place.