Frederik Willem de Klerk, former President of South Africa, was the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 along with President Nelson Mandela. President de Klerk was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his efforts to end apartheid and initiate the first fully democratic constitution for South Africa.
Born in Johannesburg on March 18, 1936, de Klerk was the son of senior Cabinet Minister Jan de Klerk. De Klerk also served as a South African Cabinet Minister beginning in 1978, until he became President in September 1989. His presidency continued until President Nelson Mandela’s inauguration in 1994. During this period, President de Klerk initiated and presided over the inclusive negotiations that led to the dismantling of “apartheid” and the adoption of South Africa’s new constitution in December 1993.
After leading the National Party to the second place in South Africa’s first fully representative general election of April 27, 1994, President de Klerk was inaugurated as one of South Africa’s two Executive Deputy Presidents. He served in this capacity until the end of June 1996 when his Party, under his leadership, decided to withdraw from the Government of National Unity. He was Leader of the Official Opposition until his retirement from active party politics in September 1997.
Today, President de Klerk continues to work actively on the promotion of harmonious relations in multi-communal societies, the future of Africa and South Africa and the challenges facing the world today. In January 1999, President de Klerk published his autobiography – The Last Trek: A New Beginning – and established the F W de Klerk Foundation, which is dedicated to the promotion of peace in multi-communal societies.
In 2004, he brought together a number of respected former national leaders to join him as founding members of Global Leadership Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to play a constructive role in the promotion of peace, democracy and development in countries across the world.
President de Klerk lives in Cape Town and enjoys reading, playing golf and watching rugby.