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South Africa’s last apartheid president F.W. de Klerk dies

F.W. de Klerk, the last apartheid president of South Africa is dead.

According to the Associated Press, De Klerk died after a battle against cancer at his home in the Fresnaye area of Cape Town.

De Klerk, who shared the Noble Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela and as South Africa’s last apartheid president oversaw the end of the country’s white minority rule, died at the age of 85.

The former president was a controversial figure in South Africa where many blamed him for violence against Black South Africans and anti-apartheid activists during his time in power, while some whites saw his efforts to end apartheid as a betrayal.

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De Klerk was the one who announced that Mandela would be released from prison in a speech to the parliament on February 2, 1990, after 27 years of incarceration.

The announcement brought life and hope to many South Africans that for many years had been scorned and sanctioned by much of the world for its brutal system of racial discrimination.

De Klerk also announced the lifting of a ban on the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid political groups in his quest to the country from its international isolation and deteriorating economy.

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