South Africa’s last white president, F.W. de Klerk, who passed away on Thursday aged 85, expressed his apology for the crimes committed to people of colour in a video released by his foundation on its website following his passing.
“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,” de Klerk said.
“I’m deeply concerned about the undermining of many aspects of the Constitution, which we perceive almost day to day.”
It was not made clear when the recording was made.
De Klerk played a part in one of the most historic moments in South Africa’s history. He oversaw and negotiated a peaceful transfer of power to a democratic government led by Nelson Mandela.
Back in 1993, he issued an apology for the actions of the apartheid government, but not for apartheid itself, stating that: “It was not our intention to deprive people of their rights and to cause misery, but eventually apartheid led to just that. Insofar as to what occurred we deeply regret it… Yes we are sorry.”
In South Africa, many regarded him as a controversial figure who displayed little care and remorse for the crimes during the apartheid regime.
Last year, de Klerk sparked a widespread backlash when he told a national broadcaster that he did not believe apartheid was a crime against humanity.