South Africa’s last white leader from apartheid-era, FW de Klerk, dies at 85
FW de Klerk, the former president of South Africa and the last white man to lead the country, has died at the age of 85.
De Klerk, who was also a key figure in the nation's transition to democracy, had been diagnosed with cancer this year, a spokesman said.
De Klerk was head of state between September 1989 and May 1994.
In a speech to South Africa's parliament on Feb. 2, 1990, De Klerk announced that Mandela would be released from prison after 27 years.
Four years after that, Mandela was elected the country’s first black president as blacks voted for the first time.
Apartheid was a system of institutionalized racial segregation that existed in South Africa from 1948 until the early 1990s.
The system was characterized by an authoritarian political culture based on white supremacy, which ensured that South Africa was dominated politically, socially, and economically by the nation's minority white population.
Mandela's authorised biographer, the journalist Anthony Sampson, later alleged that De Klerk allowed ministers to secretly support pro-apartheid organisations which collectively became known as the Third Force.