South Africa: No, Mr De Klerk, What You Did Was Not an Act of Generosity and Courage

Former South African president FW De Klerk, second from left, and his wife Elita, far left, with parliamentary presiding officers before the February 13, 2020 State of the Nation address.
opinion

As president of apartheid South Africa and its loyal servant, you knew that the apartheid project was no longer viable. You had no choice but to unban the liberation movement and release political prisoners.

Hey Mr de Klerk, let's cut to the chase. You offended us in this month of love. Imagine that. Apart from commemorating the beauty of women like Reeva Steenkamp whose life was cut short by a chauvinist boyfriend, we were marking 30 years since Madiba's release. And you came and put your foot in your mouth.

But what did we expect? A man cannot achieve in his twilight days what he did not cultivate in his vital days. True to form, you continue to reproduce racial divisions and resentment in our democratic polity. Bigotry is what you planted, irrigated and harvested in your vital days. It nourished you in your sunset years, just as it did to Botha, Vorster and Verwoerd.

Let's get this straight, Mr de Klerk, what you did 30 years ago was no act of bravery, vision, heroism or benevolence. You merely reacted to a rupture that was unfolding. It was time-out for the illegitimate racial minority rule.

As president of apartheid South...

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