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.
Remarks made by Prof Jonathan Jansen - Rector of the University of the Free State - in the Percy Baneshik Memorial Lecture to the English Academy of South Africa on 18 September, have caused a furore in Afrikaans cultural and educational circles. They have been widely interpreted as a call for English-only education and as a claim that "Afrikaans-exclusive or even Afrikaans-dominant white schools and universities represent a serious threat to race relations in South Africa".
The recent statements made by Arts and Culture Minister, Paul Mashatile, as well as Pretoria/Tshwane executive mayor, Kgosientso Ramokgopa - only three days after South Africa celebrated Heritage Day - raise questions regarding their commitment to the Preamble of the Constitution to "heal the divisions of the past" and that "South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity".
One of the most important aspects recognised in the Constitution of South Africa, is the importance of our collective heritage and the rich cultural, linguistic and historical diversity of our people.
This includes the heritage of all our peoples - from the first nations of South Africa - the KhoiKhoi, Nama and San; our indigenous African peoples - the Zulus, Xhosas, Ndebeles and Swazis; the Tswana, Pedi and South Sotho, Tsonga and Venda; white South Africans descended from the Dutch, English, German and French settlers; our extended coloured community; to the Asians who arrived from the Dutch East Indies in the 17th and 18th centuries, and from India during the 19th century.
In a speech on 13 September 2013 at the Nedbank SA Charity Golf Day at Foxhills resort in England, FW de Klerk shared his views on South Africa’s past, present and future.
He said that he could recall no time since 1994 when so many South Africans had been so despondent. He added that "we should remember 1994 - not only because it was the birth of our new society - but because it provides an important reminder that we South Africans have the ability to solve even the most intractable problems".
I have never, in my entire life, had even a puff of a cigarette. True, I did smoke a cigar 29 years ago when my son was born - but like Bill Clinton I did not inhale. Although I dislike smoking I am fairly tolerant of those who are addicted to tobacco (I have little choice since my wife enjoys the occasional cigarette). Nevertheless, I am happy that people may no longer smoke in planes, restaurants and other public places. I also believe that government should be commended for its vigorous anti-smoking campaign - which has cut smoking by 50% in the past 20 years.
The deepening turmoil in Egypt provides some sharp lessons on the potential pitfalls of winner‐takes-‐all democracy in deeply divided societies. Democracy is in essence a convention in terms of which competition for political power is resolved by elections - rather than by violence. Participants agree that the party or parties that win the election can form the government and rule the country for a prescribed period until the next election.
This year ‐ on 30 July - we celebrate International Day of Friendship. The day is based not only on the recognition of friendship in the general sense but also the relevance and importance that friendship is something more and noble, and embodies a valuable sentiment in the lives of human beings around the world.
I have learned with great sadness of the death of former Chief Justice Pius Langa and would like to convey my sincere condolences to his family and friends. As one of the first Judges appointed to our Constitutional Court after 1994 -‐ and later in the key role of Chief Justice from 2005 until his retirement in 2009 - Justice Langa played a crucial role in laying the foundations for our young constitutional democracy and continued to promote the integrity and independence of the judiciary as a cornerstone of our democracy.