Frederik Willem de Klerk
F.W. de Klerk led the nation of South Africa in ending apartheid and extending citizenship the people. Born in 1936 in Johannesburg, he studied law at Potchefstroom University and became a lawyer. After he was elected to parliament in 1969, he served over the next 20 years variously as Minister of Telecommunications and Social Welfare, Energy and Environmental Planning, Internal Affairs, and Education. During this time, he showed a firm commitment to racial justice, leading the "verligte" or "enlightened" wing of the party. In 1989, de Klerk succeeded P.W. Botha as President and in his very first speech, called for an end to apartheid. He ordered Nelson Mandela released from prison and lifted the ban on the African National Congress party. Over his five year term as president, de Klerk and his National Party negotiated with the ANC to systematically eliminate every legal basis for apartheid. Together they drafted a new, inclusive constitution, which extended political, economic, and social rights to all South Africans. In 1993 the Nobel Peace Prize was presented to de Klerk and Mandela "for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa." In 1994, the nation's first free elections named Mandela president, and de Klerk stepped down. Today, he is retired from politics, and instead runs a foundation in his name and campaigns for peace and justice worldwide.
"As always, it is the innocent - and particularly the children - who are the main victims of these conflicts. Above all, we owe it to the children of the world to stop the conflicts and to create new horizons for them. They deserve peace and decent opportunities in life."
"Peace does not necessarily imply tranquility. The affairs of mankind are in incessant flux. No relationship - between individuals or communities or political parties or countries - remains the same from one day to the next. New situations are forever arising and demand constant attention. Tensions build up and need to be defused. Militant radical minorities plan to disrupt peace and need to be contained. There can thus be no real peace without constant effort, planning and hard work."
"Around the world forces which favour peace are on the move. Amongst those, economic development is fundamentally important. Economic growth, generated by the free market, is transforming societies everywhere: It is helping to eliminate poverty and is providing the wealth which is required to address the pressing needs of the poor. It is extending education and information to an unprecedented portion of the global population. It is changing social and economic relationships and is placing irresistible pressure on archaic political and constitutional systems -whether these are of the left or of the right."
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