Ramaphosa urges South Africans to “release” FW de Klerk “so that he can be at peace”

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the people of South Africa to allow the last apartheid-era president, FW de Klerk, to rest in peace.

Ramaphosa delivered the eulogy at de Klerk’s state memorial service at the Groote Kerk in Cape Town on Sunday.

He acknowledged the role De Klerk played in the ending of the apartheid era and the crafting of the constitution.

Ramaphosa was given a standing ovation after his eulogy.

“Many wondered why we want to have a memorial at a state level for FW de Klerk and we said we will have it because he is one person who played an important role in the evolution of our new democracy whether we like it or not. FW de Klerk was born of the African soil and it is to the African soil that he has now returned. I would like to call upon all of us whether we agreed with him or not to release him so that he can be at peace. Thank you,” says Ramaphosa.

The anger cannot be ignored

Ramaphosa says the place that FW de Klerk held during the apartheid era and the anger that goes with it cannot be ignored.

“We can neither ignore nor must we ever seek to dismiss, the anger, the pain and the disappointment of those who recall the place FW de Klerk occupied in the hierarchy of an oppressive state. We must never forget the injustices of the past. We can never forget the humiliation, the degradation and the inhumanity. Nor must we ever forget the responsibility that we each bear to consign such suffering and injustice to the past.”

Ramaphosa delivers the eulogy at FW De Klerk’s memorial:

De Klerk remembered for his passion for democracy

Chairperson of the FW de Klerk Foundation, Dave Steward says De Klerk has left the country better than he had found it.

Steward says De Klerk will be remembered for his passion for democracy.

“He will be remembered for his unwavering commitment to the constitutional democracy that he, Nelson Mandela, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Thabo Mbeki and all the other negotiators helped to create. In 1999, he established the De Klerk Foundation to defend and promote the constitution. His vision to the day of his death remained fixed on the realisation of a society based on the constitutional values,’ adds Steward.

De Klerk’s son Jan de Klerk pays tribute to his father on behalf of all his children: 

De Klerk had many private struggles: Widow

The widow of the last apartheid-era president, Elita de Klerk says her husband was a good man who was the love of her life.

Elita says De Klerk had many struggles in his private life.

“Once he knew what he wanted to achieve, he planned it meticulously anticipating all obstacles in order to bring it to reality. He was torn between intellect and emotion. His emotion was for the pain the country was going through. He could not find peace in this horrendous system. He was a very private man, guarding his inner soul at all costs. Suddenly, he started seeing that choosing emotion did not seem like a betrayal, it meant justice.”

Elita de Klerk pays tribute: