(January 12, 1916-October 31, 2006)
Born in Telegraaf, South Africa
Birth name was Pieter Willem Botha
Nicknamed 'the big crocodile'
Prime Minister of South Africa (1978-84)
President of South Africa (1984-89)
Why he might be annoying
Before World War II, he joined the pro-Nazi group Oxwagon Sentinel.
His government launched a secret nuclear weapons program that produced six atomic bombs.
He delivered a 'crossing the Rubicon' speech rejecting concessions to the black population or negotiations with the African National Congress (1985).
He was fined for refusing to testify before the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission (1998).
His second wife was 25 years his junior.
Why he might not be annoying
His mother was interned in a British concentration camp during the Boer War.
He was married to Elize Rossouw for 54 years until her death.
He made some concessions early during his presidency, including legalizing mixed-race marriages and granting limited political rights to Indians and Coloureds (multi-racial South Africans).
At his funeral, Nelson Mandela said, 'While to many Mr. Botha will remain a symbol of apartheid, we also remember him for the steps he took to pave the way towards the eventual peacefully negotiated settlement in our country.'
Credit: C. Fishel
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