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The FW de Klerk Foundation writes regular articles on topical issues, supports language and cultural rights and participates in the national debate on racial and cultural issues. The Foundation also promotes communication by holding conferences and workshops.


Former President De Klerk, Mrs De Klerk and the staff of the FW de Klerk Foundation would like to extend their warmest birthday wishes to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, on the occasion of his 88th birthday. We join with our fellow South Africans in trusting for continued good health and much happiness for a giant among men, who has done much to contribute towards peace and reconciliation in our beautiful country. Happy Birthday, and may you have a blessed year, Arch!

Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation
7 October 2019

foter sa flags celebrate

Today is Heritage Day. This day was placed on the calendar after the 1994 negotiated settlement. The celebrations differ from South African to South African, but on the first commemoration of Heritage Day in 1995, President Nelson Mandela said the day was introduced because the government realised that “our rich and diverse cultural heritage has the power to help us build our new nation”. Heritage is therefore not only intended to celebrate diversity, but also to help build unity.

It is interesting that 24 September was initially not on the list of public holidays when the Public Holidays Bill was presented in Parliament in 1995. The Inkatha Freedom Party insisted that this day, upon which the Zulu nation traditionally celebrated Shaka Day (commemorating the Zulu King’s conciliatory role between the different Zulu tribes), be added to the list of public holidays. The compromise accepted was that the day would be called Heritage Day - and would apply to all South Africans, and not just to the Zulus.

fwdk podium

It is a great pleasure for me to be able to address you today on a topic that is so relevant to so many of the developments that are shaping the world in the 21st century. 

People who imagine that ethnicity and religion are artificial hang-overs from a regrettable and unlamented past are deluding themselves.

They are still central to the lives of billions of people throughout the world.

On the one hand, they provide us with much of our meaning, purpose and identity as human beings. 

It is a great pleasure for me to address the youth delegates at this Nobel Peace Laureate Summit in Mérida.

I have no doubt that one of the central challenges that your generation will confront will be the management of the enormous changes that you will experience during your lifetimes.   

You will need very special leadership skills to deal with change - because:

  • It is accelerating;
  • It is unpredictable; and
  • It is fundamental.


It is a pleasure to talk about South African history in a country with such a long and distinguished history - and at a school whose alumni have contributed so greatly to Britain and to the world.

It is, of course, impossible to understand the past 40 years in South Africa without   understanding the preceding 400 years.  Britain played a major role in the evolution of that history - as it did in the histories of so many countries throughout the world.

The British first occupied the Cape in 1795 and then annexed it in 1806.

The Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) issued a report on 28 August entitled “Running out of Road: South Africa's public finances and what is to be done”. They conclude that if South Africa does not overcome its fiscal crisis, there will be no accelerated economic growth. However, the opposite is also true: if we don’t start growing the economy, we will not be able to cope with the fiscal crisis. South Africa needs an uncompromising growth strategy, which must be applied strictly. CDE Chief Ann Bernstein warns that Government and the ruling party do not seem to fully realise how profound the changes are that are needed and how much leadership it will take from the President to get it right.

ARMY opt

There is nothing wrong with first world national health schemes if you are a first world country.  Unfortunately, South Africa is not a first world country and simply does not have the resources or manpower to achieve the ambitious objectives of the ANC’s proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme. 

As it stands, the NHI has the potential to cause more havoc than even the dire prospect of expropriation without compensation. If it is implemented as envisaged it will have a direct impact on the lived experience of South Africa’s multi-racial middle class, millions of South Africans who already bear a heavy tax burden.  If parents with sick children have to wait for weeks for medical appointments - and for yet more weeks to see specialists - their frustration and anger will dominate their lives.   And to make things worse, the NHI will not make any difference to the presently crippled and defunct public health system.

ARMY opt

The relentless saga surrounding the CR17 presidential campaign's funding is still in full swing. For ordinary South Africans, it is clear that the Public Protector (PP) has it in for President Ramaphosa and some of his supporters, especially Pravin Gordhan and Derek Hanekom. And the leaked information about the donors and recipients of some of these funds raises quite a few questions.

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