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F.W. De Klerk
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World Leader
    (March 18, 1936- )
    Born in Johannesburg, South Africa
    Birth name was Frederik Willem de Klerk
    President of South Africa (1989-94)
    Co-Deputy President with Thabo Mbeki (1994-96)
    Co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela (1993)
    As Education Minister (1984-89), he supported segregated universities.
    Mandela accused him of trying to maintain 'apartheid in disguise' by attempting to give the white minority a veto over government actions.
    He criticized the Truth and Reconciliation Committee for calling apartheid a crime against humanity (1998).
    He scandalized his conservative National Party by divorcing his wife and revealing his affair with the wife of a shipping tycoon who financially supported his party (1998).
    Within six months of taking office, he announced he would lift a ban on the African National Congress and start repealing discriminatory laws (February 2, 1990).
    Over the next four years, he and Mandela negotiated a (relatively) peaceful transfer of power to black majority rule.
    He dismantled South Africa's secret nuclear weapons program.
    Three years after their divorce, his ex-wife was murdered by a security guard.
    He said, 'I apologize in my capacity as leader of the National Party to the millions... who over the decades suffered the indignities and humiliation of racial discrimination.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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