FW De Klerk opening old wounds

It's easy for people like the last apartheid president FW de Klerk to glorify apartheid because they don't know its effect, the writer says.
It's easy for people like the last apartheid president FW de Klerk to glorify apartheid because they don't know its effect, the writer says.
Image: AMBROSE PETERS

So, FW de Klerk and his foundation finally apologised for the former president's statement that apartheid wasn't a crime against humanity.

De Klerk unashamedly uttered this statement during an SABC interview ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address (Sona).

He said during the interview that apartheid was not a genocide and that more people died during the black-on-black violence before the dawn of democracy than during apartheid.

What a shame from a man who led an apartheid administration where black people were seen as inferior to their elite white counterparts.

De Klerk's utterances also caused havoc during Sona as the EFF wanted him out of the House but the ANC defended his invitation. The ruling party argued that the former president has attended many previous Sonas, so he should be allowed to attend this year's address.

But one thing that we need to emphasise is that the statement was unnecessary and unfortunate.

Such statements are not taking us as a country forward but open the wounds of segregation in SA.

It's easy for people like De Klerk to glorify apartheid because they don't know its effect.

No person who knows the effect of apartheid would praise it. Apartheid was a monster and we don't want to be reminded of it. This is a chapter we want to forget.

We really don't know what provoked De Klerk to hail apartheid in the first place.

This is the man who had said several times before that apartheid was wrong and apologised for it.

He apologised during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1997 for the cruelty of apartheid.

So, what made him change his view?

Whatever the reason, he should not have said those words.

Apartheid is a very sensitive issue and it is something that will stay with those who suffered it for years to come. We are not going to heal as a nation if people like De Klerk praise the monster that was apartheid.

For black people and white people who were against apartheid the last thing they want is to be reminded of a segregated SA.

We are saying SA can be a much better place without people like De Klerk and his ilk.

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