About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

De Klerk, Frederik Willem (F.W.)

1936 -

De Klerk was born in Johannesburg. He graduated from Potchefstroom University with a law degree in 1958.

He became a National Party MP in 1972 and in 1978 was appointed as Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Social Welfare and Pensions. Under the P W Botha government he held various ministerial posts over the years from 1978 to 1989.

He became leader of the National Party in February 1989, and State President in September 1989, which position he held until April 1994. In February 1990 he unbanned the ANC and SACP and released Nelson Mandela, thus setting the stage for the negotiations towards a new democratic South Africa.

In 1993 De Klerk and Mandela, were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.

De Klerk served two years as Deputy President under Mandela, until his party withdrew from the Government of National Unity. In 2004 he left the New National Party and retired from active politics.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.