Former South African president and Nobel laureate FW de Klerk died Wednesday at the age of 85.
I met former President FW de Klerk once on his return from Oslo & he made it clear that he was proud of every moment of his life – -he was a pleasure to talk to pic.twitter.com/c0OzpXK0zb — George Clooney (@georgelupides) March 21, 2018
“I would like to express our deepest sympathy and condolences to the de Klerk family, the SWANU family, and to the country and people of South Africa,” the White House said in a statement. “President de Klerk was a central architect of our country’s transition to democracy, which led to the peaceful election of President Mandela in 1994.”
De Klerk, who became South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1989, was a close ally of Nelson Mandela and was instrumental in bringing about the country’s first democratic government.
De Klerk was also at the forefront of efforts to end apartheid, the system of racial segregation created in South Africa by apartheid’s architect, the country’s first president, F.W. de Klerk.
The two men received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. De Klerk also led a violent reconciliation process with other minority groups after the end of apartheid and spearheaded a treaty that formally ended white rule.