Dead Frederick de Klerk, the South African president who freed Mandela-

Dead Frederick de Klerk, the South African president who freed Mandela-
Dead Frederick de Klerk, the South African president who freed Mandela-
from Carlo Baroni

He was 85 and had been ill for some time. In 1993 he won the Nobel Peace Prize and worked alongside Mandela as Vice President

The last white president of South Africa. The scrapper, along with Mandela, of apartheid. Frederick de Klerk died. He was 85 years old. And he had been struggling for some time with an incurable disease. One of his many battles. Often against the tide. A politician ahead of the times. This is why history has put him in a corner.

To whites he was a traitor and blacks looked upon him as the ancient oppressor. Because he had the courage to free Mandela and put an end to the apartheid regime. This earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. But also political exile.

The highest point coincided with the start of the descent. He came from a family of Huguenot origin who had lived in South Africa for three centuries. That was his country. Graduated in Law, he joined the National Party very early, the party that governs South Africa from the Second World War to the 1990s. The movement that theorized l’apartheid and made it a law of the state, worse a way of life.

De Klerk was part of the minority Afrikaner, the whites who had everything in their hands: politics, economics, newspapers. He was considered an Orthodox, like Gorbachev in the Soviet Union. Nobody, when he was chosen as president (from ’89 to ’94) thought he would dismantle that system. But he understood that the world had changed. History is not made with ifs, but there is no doubt that it avoided South Africa what happened to other countries in the moment of decolonization. The bloodbath in the former Rhodesia and a traumatic transition to a democracy that was never completed.

De Klerk also worked alongside Mandela as vice president. A signal to the white community that it was possible to collaborate with the victims of the past. The rainbow nation was born with him, an attempt at possible coexistence. The last years marked by family tragedies and illness. And above all forgotten. He who in his own way really changes history.

November 11, 2021 (change November 11, 2021 | 14:48)


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