F.W. de Klerk, South Africa’s last white supremacist president who contributed massively to the oppression of Blacks but also freed Nelson Mandela has died

De Klerk, who was a white supremacist, is credited to have ushered in the end of South Africa's apartheid system, a kind of white minority rule in a country with majority black population.

South Africa’s last apartheid President F.W. de Klerk died on Thursday at his home in Cape Town. He was 85. The former South African leader died from mesothelioma, a form of cancer that affects the lungs, the the F.W. de Klerk Foundation said.

De Klerk, who was a white supremacist, is credited to have ushered in the end of South Africa’s apartheid system, a kind of white minority rule in a country with majority black population.

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In 1990, just five months into his presidency, De Klerk opened the way for an end to more than four decades of apartheid. He lifted the ban on the African National Congress (ANC) and announced the release of its leader Nelson Mandela after 27 years behind bars.

Mandela was released nine days after, and he became President of South Africa four years later in 1994, becoming the country’s first black president following the first multi-race elections. Both Mandela and De Klerk shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize for their cooperation.

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De Klerk was not always a good man. He was a white supremacist lawyer from a prominent white African family and a member of the Broederbond, a secret Africaner society dedicated to white domination.

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He ran for parliament in 1972 as a resident of the rightwing mining town of Vereeniging and he was for several years minister in charge of a schooling system that spent 10 times more on white children than on black kids.

De Klerk ran for parliament in 1972 as a resident of the right-wing mining town of Vereeniging, and he was for several years minister in charge of a schooling system that spent 10 times more on white children than on Blacks, noted the Associated Press.

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Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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