De Klerk missed many chances to fully reconcile with South Africans – Tutu foundation

0
96



While the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation has sent its condolences to the De Klerk family following the death of FW de Klerk on Thursday morning,it also lamented the many chances he missed to fully reconcile with all South Africans.

“We send our condolences to the De Klerk family. It is never easy to lose a father,” said Foundation CEO Piyushi Kotecha to the family of South Africa’s last apartheid-era president, who she said played a pivotal part in the country’s transition to democracy.

“It is, however, sad that Mr de Klerk missed the many chances he had to fully reconcile with all South Africans by acknowledging the full extent of the damage caused by apartheid. That damage is with us today,” said Kotecha.

“We are in many ways a broken society. It is as our founder, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, has said, ‘Mr de Klerk could have gone down in history as a truly great South African statesman, but he eroded his stature and became a small man, lacking magnanimity and generosity of spirit’.”

The foundation criticised De Klerk for never being able to acknowledge the full extent of apartheid’s evil.

“The third phase of De Klerk’s career was a disappointment, a return to form in which he made unconvincing denials of apartheid-era atrocities at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, chaired by Archbishop Tutu. He also refused to acknowledge apartheid as an atrocious crime against humanity. He went on to become something of an apologist for apartheid on the global speaking circuit. This is sadly a part of history best forgotten.”

De Klerk says ‘apartheid was wrong’

The former president seems to have changed his tune in his final days.

In a video released by the FW de Klerk foundation on Thursday, the former president apologised “unreservedly” for the system of “separate development”.

He said in part: “It is true that in my younger years I defended separate development as I never liked the word apartheid. I did so when I was a member of Parliament and I did so as I became a member of Cabinet. Afterwards, on many occasions I apologised for the pain and the indignity that apartheid has brought to persons of colour in South Africa. Many believed me, but others didn’t.

“Therefore let me today in this last message, repeat, I without qualification apologise for the pain and the hurt and the indignity and the damage that apartheid has done to Black, Brown and Indians in South Africa. I do so not only in my capacity as the former leader of the National Party but also as an individual.

“Allow me in this last message to share with you the fact that since the early 80s my views changed completely.

“It was as if I had a conversion and in my heart of hearts realised that apartheid was wrong. I realised that we had arrived at a place which was morally unjustifiable.”

Source: citizen