South Africa on Sunday paid an official tribute to FW de Klerk, the final president of white rule, who freed Nelson Mandela from prison and steered the country from apartheid to democracy.
De Klerk died on November 11 aged 85 following a battle with cancer. Four days of national mourning were declared in his honour.
He served as president from 1989 to 1994 and is remembered most for leading South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule to the first multi-racial elections in 1994.
De Klerk also shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela in 1993 after freeing him from prison in 1990. Mandela then became South Africa’s first black president after his African National Congress party won the 1994 election.
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a eulogy at Cape Town’s Protestant Groote Kerk — one of South Africa’s oldest churches — and called De Klerk “brave” for starting the democratic transition in 1990.
“De Klerk went against elements in his own state security apparatus, and against die-hards who were prepared to take up arms to preserve the status quo,” Ramaphosa said.