12 October 2018

South Africa: Pik Botha, International Face of Apartheid, Dies At 86

A member of both apartheid and post-apartheid governments, Botha died at his home in Pretoria. Botha was known both as a reformer and as a defender of apartheid.

Pik Botha, a key figure in South Africa's transition from apartheid, died at the age of 86, his son said Friday. The longest-serving foreign minister in the world, Botha spent more than a decade defending apartheid, despite being considered a reformer and then serving in Nelson Mandela's first post-apartheid government.

Roelof Frederik Botha was born in 1932, and began his career as a diplomat in South Africa's embassies in Sweden, Washington, and to the United Nations before becoming a politician.

Botha was foreign minister from 1977 to the end of white rule in 1994. He spent the bulk of his career defending South Africa's brutal, racist apartheid regime to the rest of the world.

He also spoke up for minority rights at times, however, earning the rebuke of President P.W. Botha (no relation) in 1986 when he said: "As long as we can agree in a suitable way on the protection of minority rights without a racial sting ... then it would possibly become unavoidable that in future you might have a black president of this country."

After the end of apartheid, Botha hailed Nelson Mandela as the healing figure that South Africa needed, and served as minister of Mineral and Energy Affairs in Mandela's transition government.

He died at his home in Pretoria.

es/kms (AP, Reuters)

South Africa

We're Ready to Assist Zimbabwe - South African Minister

South Africa stands ready to assist Zimbabwe so that the reforms it is implementing to turn around the economy succeed,… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 Deutsche Welle. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.