De Klerk: Apartheid Was Not a ‘Crime Against Humanity’

Mandela and De Klerk (Associated Press)
Associated Press

Former South African President F. W. de Klerk, who shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela for his role in steering South Africa from apartheid to democracy, has protested the way the current South African government is treating minority Afrikaners. In a speech at the Voortrekker Monument–an important Afrikaner symbol–De Klerk said that Afrikaners had been made to feel overly guilty for the past, and argued that apartheid had not been a “crime against humanity.”

“In May 1996 I made a sincere apology before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for all the injustices caused by apartheid,” he recalled.

However, the idea that apartheid–a strict policy of racial segregation–had been a “crime against humanity” was the result of a successful propaganda campaign at the United Nations and elsewhere by the Soviet Union, “which had itself committed real crimes against humanity that involved the slaughter of millions of people,” he said.

“The idea that apartheid was ‘a crime against humanity’ was, and remains, an ‘agitprop’ project initiated by communists to stigmatise white South Africans by associating them with genuine crimes against humanity–which have generally included totalitarian repression and the slaughter of millions of people,” De Klerk claimed, arguing that apartheid brought South African blacks an increased share of national income, improved education, trade union membership, and social services.

“As Christians we should acknowledge our transgressions–but there is no requirement for us to feel morally inferior to anyone–and least of all to the Marxist-Leninists who have traditionally played a prominent role in the approach and the policies of the ANC.”

Afrikaners, a fraction of South Africa’s overall population, trace their origin to Dutch and French Huguenot settlers. Though they are white, the Afrikaans language itself is widely spoken by mixed-race South Africans.

De Klerk’s full speech is here.