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Frederik Willem De Klerk
Joint winner of the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela, Frederik Willem De Klerk was one of the most influential South African politicians of the twentieth century
Former State President of South Africa
Worked to end apartheid
1993 winner of The Nobel Peace Prize, alongside Nelson Mandela
Awarded a Gold Medal (Outstanding Contribution to Public Discourse) from the College Historical Society
Founder of the FW de Klerk Foundation
Topics covered include
The New South Africa,
Leadership in difficult times and
The World Stage
Having led South Africa through challenging times, facilitated a democracy and enabled the ending of apartheid, Frederik Willem De Klerk is unafraid to speak his mind and to share his knowledge. His desire to enable current and future leaders to achieve their potential for the good of humanity is evident.
Read Frederik's Full Bio to find out more...
Frederik Willem De Klerk is known for his work in transforming
South African politics
. In 1993, he was awarded the
Nobel Peace Prize
, in recognition of his work to end apartheid and to enable democracy.
Frederik Willem de Klerk was born in
18th of March 1936
to a family known for their involvement in and conservative view of South African politics. de Klerk attended
Monument High School
before studying law at
. After his graduation, he moved to
, where he practised law.
In 1969, de Klerk became Vereeniging’s member of the
House of Assembly
Minister of Posts and Telecommunications and Social Welfare and Pensions in 1978.
Following this, he went on to occupy numerous crucial roles:
1979–1980 - Minister for Mines, Energy and Environmental Planning
1980–1982 - Minister for Mineral and Energy Affairs
1982–1985 - Minister for Internal Affairs
1984–1989 - Minister for National Education and Planning
In 1982, de Klerk became the
Transvaal province leader
Minister's Council in the House of Assembly
three years later.
Despite the fact that he had always been associated with conservative views regarding segregation in society and in education, after many years in politics he became a leading member of a growing group of people within the governing party who were in favour of more liberal policies. By February 1989 de Klerk was the
head of the National Party.
By the 20th of September in the same year, he became
After taking leadership, de Klerk began to disassemble the
segregated society in South Africa
. He freed
, facilitated the
ending of apartheid
and lifted the
African National Congress
(the ANC). Negotiations between the National Party and the African National Congress enabled South Africa to become a
. It was due to their contribution to ending apartheid that de Klerk and Nelson Mandela were awarded the
Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
Whilst in government, de Klerk was also responsible for the
of South Africa in the early nineties.
de Klerk was deputy president for two years (under Nelson Mandela) after the 1994 election. He retired from politics in 1997.
Post Political Career
FW de Klerk Foundation
by de Klerk in
. The organisation promotes peace in multicultural areas and helps to ensure that South Africa is continuing to uphold democracy and support its people, regardless of colour or race. He is currently
of the FW de Klerk Foundation and of the
Global Leadership Foundation
(GLF), an organisation in which former leaders share their knowledge and wisdom with today’s governments.
As well as playing an active role in his foundations, de Klerk is currently a
speaker and a lecturer
. He is an
Honorary Chairman of the Prague Society for International Cooperation
, and an
Honorary Patron of the University Philosophical Society.
de Klerk first married in 1959. He and his wife Marike (née Willemse) had three children Jan, Willem and Susan de Klerk. The marriage ended with divorce in 1998 after it was revealed that de Klerk had been having an affair with Elita Georgiades. Following their divorces, de Klerk and Georgiades were married.
In 2001, Marike de Klerk was
whilst her ex-husband was away in Sweden. de Klerk returned to South Africa immediately on hearing the news.
During a medical examination in 2006, it was discovered that de Klerk had a
malignant colon tumour
. Despite complications during the operation to remove the tumour, he went on to
make a full recovery
, also recovering from a
triple bypass operation
the same year.
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