President Ramaphosa declares mourning period in honour of FW de Klerk

FW de Klerk
Reading Time: 2 minutes

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared that the National Flag be flown at half-mast from sunset Wednesday until Sunday evening as a mark of respect for the late former Deputy President FW de Klerk.

De Klerk passed away at the age of 85 on Thursday last week after an extended illness.

The FW de Klerk Foundation has announced that the cremation and funeral of De Klerk will take place in a private ceremony for family members on Sunday.

The Presidency says the government will at a future date host a State Memorial Service in remembrance of the former Deputy President.

In the video below, President Ramaphosa sends condolences to the De Klerk family: 

Mixed reactions

De Klerk, who won praise worldwide for his role in scrapping apartheid and shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela in 1993, has a complex legacy that left many grappling with conflicting emotions following his death.

Many in South Africa remain angered by his actions during apartheid and for his failure to curb political violence in the run-up to South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994.

They argued against him being granted a state funeral, a privilege his foundation’s statement confirmed he is not set to enjoy.

After his death, his foundation published a video in which he apologised for crimes against other ethnic groups during decades of white minority rule in South Africa.

FW de Klerk’s last words to South Africans:

He had previously refused to apologise and prompted backlash as recently as last year when he said he did not believe apartheid was a crime against humanity.

On the other hand, he angered right-wing Afrikaners who viewed him as a traitor to their causes of white supremacy and nationalism by ending apartheid. -Additional reporting by Reuters