De Klerk: The apology that came too late

by | Nov 15, 2021 | International, Politics | 0 comments

Hosia Mviringi
Frederick Willem De Klerk, who died a few days ago at the ripe age of 85 is the last South African Apartheid President who ruled that country until the negotiated fall of Apartheid in 1994.
Reports on international media confirm that there has been a groundswell of solidarity and condolence messages following his death.
Most people sympathise with him not only because he was a good man, but because they didn’t know him.
Perhaps the only part of history that the majority will remember is that De Klerk won a joint Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela in 1993.
Many critics and sceptics still wonder how he qualified for the Peace Price with a horrible track record behind him.
This was after Nelson Mandela’s release from Robben Island prison, after having endured many years in the notorious Polsmoor Prison in Cape Town.

It is thus pertinent that a part of history that may probably be overlooked be told for the sake of future generations.
The frail-looking de Klerk chose the occasion of his death to release an undated video of himself purportedly apologising to South Africa for his role in the oppression, abuse, killing and dispossession of South Africans of their natural resources that include land.
“I, without qualification, apologise for the pain and the hurt and the indignity and the damage that apartheid has done to black, brown and Indians in South Africa. I do so not only in my capacity as the former leader of the National Party, but also as an individual”.
“Allow me in this last message to share with you the fact that since the early 80s, my views changed completely. It was as if I had a conversion, and in my heart of hearts, I realised that Apartheid was wrong.
I realised that we had arrived at a place which was morally wrong,” lamented De Klerk in this pre-recorded posthumous apology.

Some will ask if this apology on its own is enough to earn him the sympathy and golden forgiveness.
De Klerk represents a generation of arrogant white supremacists who could not imagine apologising to black people whom he considered inferior. This he chose to apologise from the grave.
Here is the personification of hypocrisy. Frederick De Klerk, as arrogant and unrepentant as always, chose to wait this life with a cleansed image and perception of himself.
Many South Africans would have expected him to apologise while he still lived to show his sincerity.
He should have offered some restorative solutions to the man-made problems that apartheid inflicted upon South African society.
Apartheid, the very system that De Klerk presided over between 1987 and 1993, was cruel and dehumanising to the black African.
Apology that came late.

South Africans expect more than just a cowardly posthumous apology. They expect a promise for action to restore their stolen land and resources.

Mr De Klerk had all the time to engage national leadership to work out elaborate compensation modalities for damage suffered at the hands of the successive apartheid governments.
Landless black South Africans are still yearning for access to their land after he scuppered all effort for reparations during the 1990-1994 negotiations which led to a flawed Constitution which is hailed as ‘progressive’.
De Klerk was responsible for manipulating Nelson Mandela into submission to a constitution that protects and perpetuate white supremacy and economic dominance.
Should the black South Africans accept an apology that bellows from the darkest depths of the grave?
De Klerk presided over and perpetuated one of the most oppressive and insensitive systems of governance which celebrated white supremacy at the expense of black civil rights and liberties.

“Together with most other South Africans, I am proud of our constitution which we hammered out in the negotiations we started in 1990 and which culminated the final constitution of 1996,” he continued boastfully.
The sound of this statement leaves a lot to be desired to a discerning South African who understand that the much-celebrated constitution is dispossessive to the ordinary black South African.
The new constitution should have been more restorative in nature, emphasising equity in distribution of wealth and resources, that is it should rather be a proponent of restorative reconciliation a cored on Affirmative Action.
It is therefore a hollow piece not worthy celebrating as it does nothing to address the empowerment needs of Africans.
The making of the South African Constitution should have presented a realistic chance to address the deep seated dissatisfaction, frustration and despondency which to some greater extent has shaped the current violent discourse which is a culmination of unending frustrations at the hands of the so called progressive constitution.
Maybe it will be necessary to remind the dear reader that this constitution was negotiated while Mandela was languishing in prison and its adoption became the carrot for his release into Presidency.
It is precisely because of the foregoing that De Klerk holds no moral standing to deserve any sympathy not title of honour for the role that he played as President of the Republic of South Africa.
The release of a late apology posthumously is the most cowardly act that deserve the highest condemnation by all well-meaning black Africans who suffered the brutal bruises of the liberation struggle.
The apology adds salt to injury as it is yet the most public show of contempt and disdain of the African people by an unrepentant apartheid dissident.
Up to his death, De Klerk found it difficult to acknowledge the humanity of the black South Africans that he oppressed, maimed, killed and kept away from their ancestral lands.