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  1. Letters to Nelson Mandela

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Letters to Nelson Mandela


De Frederik Willem de Klerk


Débats publics - Collection : Sens - décembre 2018

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    Five years after the death of Nelson Mandela, and 25 years after sharing the Nobel Peace Prize with him, Frederik de Klerk reflects on his political legacy in a revealing series of letters to his old friend and political rival. In them, he recalls their formidable struggles to turn South Africa into a democratic, tolerant, and inclusive “Rainbow Nation.” On February 2, 1990, FW de Klerk made an historic speech in which he announced his intention to bring to an end his country’s system of racial oppression and to free all political prisoners. The best-known beneficiary of this measure was Nelson Mandela, who had spent 27 years in jail.

    At the outset, Frederik de Klerk and Nelson Mandela had little in common. But they found a way of working together in the name of hope and reconciliation. What challenges did they have to overcome, what were the values and ideals that drove them – often in the face of opposition from within their own ranks – to keep negotiating and remain on course for a peaceful transition toward meaningful democracy?

    These 14 letters, published here for the first time, offer an eye-wit- ness account of some of the most momentous events of the 20th century. They also sound an optimistic note, enjoining the younger generations to commit to social and political change and in the process find meaning in their actions and in the world. 

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