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What you said: Will you observe the period of mourning for FW de Klerk this weekend?

20 November 2021 - 10:00
Former president FW de Klerk died last Thursday in Cape Town at the age of 85. File photo.
Former president FW de Klerk died last Thursday in Cape Town at the age of 85. File photo.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

TimesLIVE readers have shared their thoughts on the period of mourning for former president FW de Klerk.

President Cyril Ramaphosa this week announced the national flag will be flown at half-mast from sunset on Wednesday until Sunday “as a mark of respect” for De Klerk.

Acting presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale said a state memorial service will be announced by government at a later stage.

De Klerk died last Thursday at his home in Cape Town at the age of 85, his foundation said.

“It is with the deepest sadness that the FW de Klerk Foundation must announce that former president FW de Klerk died peacefully at his home in Fresnaye earlier this morning [Thursday] following his struggle against mesothelioma cancer.”

Considered 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”.

De Klerk's legacy has been the subject of fierce debate on social media, with many suggesting they would not participate in the period of mourning and may disrupt a state funeral or memorial service for the former leader.

Controversial sacked ANC staffer Carl Niehaus was among those who weighed in, saying Ramaphosa should be ashamed of himself for making such an announcement.

But a poll by TimesLIVE found that most readers will observe the period of mourning for De Klerk: 55% said De Klerk “played a big part in bringing about a democratic SA” and would be mourned.  

Some 34% said the late apartheid president meant nothing to them and they would not mourn him, while 11% cheekily asked if he would have mourned for them?

On social media, opinions were split.

“I won't be mourning, simply because I didn't have any personal relationship with him. I also won't be mourning any other former, present or future dead presidents, but it doesn't mean that I'm disrespectful. They do leave families and friends behind that cared for them deeply and I respect that,” wrote Marinda Wilmans.

“Just honour the dead. People with no respect for the dead have no respect for others. SA is case in point," added Marius Carstens.

Debbie Clifford joked she was instead “mourning the loss of our electricity and water supply”.


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