De Klerk’s funeral to take place on 21 November

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The FW de Klerk Foundation has announced that a private cremation and funeral will take place next Sunday for the former statesman. De Klerk died in Cape Town on Thursday at the age of 85 following a battle with cancer.

The foundation did not provide further details but said the funeral will be a private ceremony for family members and will not be open to the media.

Mixed tributes for De Klerk

Stellenbosch historian, Prof Hermann Giliomee, has paid tribute to the last apartheid President FW De Klerk.

Giliomee says De Klerk tried his best during difficult times.

“A man with such momentous responsibility, you know. He tried his very best. He did what he thought was the right thing to do. He didn’t fully understand his opposition. If someone is to be blamed for the shortcomings of the settlements, then the ANC must carry as much as blame for that as he does,” says Giliomee.

Anti-apartheid struggle veteran and former Robben Island prisoner Mac Maharaj says De Klerk was a prisoner of his own past.

Maharaj, however, says De Klerk wrote himself into South African history, with unbanning of the ANC and the release of political prisoners.

He says he has mixed feelings about de Klerk’s legacy because he did not admit that apartheid was a crime against humanity.

“He has left this video as part of his apology, but he did not acknowledge that apartheid was a crime against humanity. It was that understanding that was necessary for him to make, to really be committed to transformation. Let us be generous. He has sought to make an apology. Let us treat it as given. Let us be open-minded and have all the facts on the table when we make our assessment of the historic role that individuals have made. Because at the end of the day, none of those individuals, on their own, take credit. The real credit in our country goes to the masses of our people,” says Maharaj.