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Private funeral for South Africa’s last white leader De Klerk

By Guardian Nigeria
14 November 2021   |   3:28 pm
South Africa's last apartheid era president FW de Klerk, who died last week, will be cremated at a private funeral on November 21, his office said Sunday.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 31, 2014 Former South African president FW de Klerk looks on before delivering his speech to mark 20 years of democracy in Cape Town. – FW de Klerk, South Africa’s last white president, has died aged 85, his foundation announced on November 11, 2021. (Photo by Jennifer BRUCE / AFP)

South Africa’s last apartheid era president FW de Klerk, who died last week, will be cremated at a private funeral on November 21, his office said Sunday.

De Klerk, who helped steer the nation to democracy but never fully owned up to the horrors of the apartheid past, died on Thursday aged 85 after a battle with cancer.

In a statement, the FW de Klerk Foundation said it “wishes to announce that FW de Klerk’s cremation and funeral will take place on Sunday, 21 November”. 

“It will be a private ceremony for family members and will not be open to media,” it said.

De Klerk’s death drew mixed reactions, including deep anger among many blacks.

In a video message released just hours after his death, De Klerk said: “I, without qualification apologise for the pain and hurt and the indignity and the damage that apartheid has done to black, brown and Indians in South Africa.”

But that death-bed apology failed to pacify most South Africans, who felt it did not adequately denounce apartheid nor address any form of reparations.

Although former and sitting presidents are eligible for state funerals in South Africa, the leftist opposition Economic Freedom Fighters last week warned of protests should De Klerk be granted one.

“To honour De Klerk with a state funeral would be to spit in the face of gallant liberation heroes who suffered in his hands, and had their children murdered in his quest to stifle the freedom of black people,” EFF said in a statement.

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