Born In: Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa
F. W. de Klerk was a South African politician who served as the country’s 7th state president, from August 1989 to May 1994, and as its first deputy president, from 1994 to 1996, in Nelson Mandela's administration. He was a prominent proponent of the anti-apartheid movement, even though his father was one of the originators of the apartheid system of racial segregation that had been a significant part of the South African government for decades. Initially, during his tenure at various ministerial posts, de Klerk had supported the apartheid system. However, that changed after he became the 'National Party' leader and South Africa was plagued by racial violence. De Klerk eventually emerged as a key figure who worked alongside Mandela to end the apartheid policy. His efforts earned him a 'Nobel Peace Prize.' However, that, too, came with controversies for various reasons. De Klerk also faced criticism for his alleged extramarital affair.
Also Known As: Frederik Willem de Klerk
Died At Age: 85
Spouse/Ex-: Elita Georgiades (m. 1998), Marike de Klerk (m. 1959–1998)
father: Jan de Klerk
mother: Hendrina Cornelia Coetzer
siblings: Willem de Klerk
children: Jan de Klerk, Susan de Klerk, Willem de Klerk
Born Country: South Africa
Notable Alumni: Potchefstroom University For Christian Higher Education
education: Potchefstroom University For Christian Higher Education
In 1975, Prime Minister John Vorster nominated de Klerk for a promotion to the position of deputy minister. Vorster had always favored him and believed him to be a leader of the nation. Unfortunately, the promotion ultimately went to Andries Treurnicht of the 'National Party.'
F. W. de Klerk held several honorary positions in organizations such as the 'University Philosophical Society' of 'Trinity College,' Dublin (honorary patron) and the 'Prague Society for International Cooperation' (honorary chairman).
The 'College Historical Society' of 'Trinity College' honored him with the 'Gold Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Public Discourse.'
De Klerk was on the advisory board of the 'Global Panel Foundation.'
F. W. de Klerk was married to former 'National Party' member Marike Willemse from 1959 until their divorce in 1996. They had first met when de Klerk was still a university student.
The divorce followed after Willemse found out about de Klerk's affair with Elita Georgiades, who was then married to Greek shipping mogul Tony Georgiades. Apparently, Georgiades was one of the financers of the 'National Party.'
De Klerk's autobiography, 'The Last Trek – A New Beginning,' was published in 2000. The following year, Willemse was brutally murdered by her security guard. De Klerk received the manuscript of her autobiography, 'A Place Where the Sun Shines Again,' in 2002. He urged the publishers to remove everything regarding his affair with Elita from the autobiography.
F. W. de Klerk died from complications of mesothelioma on November 11, 2021, in his sleep at his home in Cape Town. He was 85.
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