SA has lost a ‘father and an elder statesman’, says Mandla Mandela on De Klerk’s death

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Former president Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Inkosi Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela, has paid tribute to South Africa’s last president of apartheid, FW de Klerk, following his passing.

Mandela says De Klerk served the country with distinction as deputy president during his grandfather’s presidency, under the government of national unity in the late 1990s.

De Klerk died early on Thursday morning at his home in Fresnaye, Cape Town, at the age of 85 after battling cancer.

In a statement, Mandela said many may not agree with his views about De Klerk, but he had “personally witnessed the great relationship of dignified respect Madiba accorded him and we will do no less”.

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He said the former deputy president would be remembered for his role in leading the National Party (NP) to negotiations and setting South Africa on the path to democracy after decades of apartheid rule.

“This was no easy task but it was the foundation stones of nation-building, national reconciliation and social cohesion,” Mandela said.

“He must be acknowledged for his positive contribution and if ever Amilcar Cabral’s words were apt, ‘we tell no lies and claim no easy victories’, then it’s certainly true for his journey and indeed our country’s journey to democracy.

“He was a formidable foe and when freedom dawned he was instrumental in holding together the early strands of our democracy and weaving tight the delicate strands of our diversity and our aspirations to be a rainbow nation,” he added.

‘Pillar of strength’

Mandela said after his grandfather’s death in 2013, De Klerk became a “pillar of strength” to his family, and they could call on him for support on more than one occasion.

We honour his memory and say without fear of contradiction that our nation has lost a father and an elder statesman.

“I would fail in paying homage to deputy president FW de Klerk if I did not remind the nation, and indeed the world, of my grandfather’s tribute to him on the occasion of their joint acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize when Nkosi Dalibhunga said on the occasion of the joint Nobel Peace Prize laureate referring to De Klerk:

‘He had the courage to admit that a terrible wrong had been done to our country and people through the imposition of the system of apartheid.

‘He had the foresight to understand and accept that all the people of South Africa must through negotiations and as equal participants in the process, together determine what they want to make of their future’.”

Shared vision

Mandela said South Africa still had a long way to go in realising his grandfather’s dream for the country.

He said citizens should draw on Mandela and De Klerk’s example “and charter a way forward so that indeed we may realise the shared vision”.

“In his memory and the memory of all our departed heroes let us not abandon the path of nation-building, national recollection and social cohesion.

“We owe it to our children and our children’s children to ensure that all our efforts will and must be measured by the happiness and welfare of the children, at once the most vulnerable citizens in any society and the greatest of our treasures.

“The children must, at last, play in the open veld, no longer tortured by the pangs of hunger or ravaged by disease or threatened with the scourge of ignorance, molestation and abuse, and no longer required to engage in deeds whose gravity exceeds the demands of their tender years,” Mandela said.

“Long live the memory of deputy president FW de Klerk! May his soul rest in peace.”

Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe

WATCH: FW de Klerk speaks from the dead, apologises for apartheid’s pain

Source: citizen