De Klerk apartheid remarks spark S.Africa furoreBy AFP | Friday, May 11 2012 at 15:55
A defence of racially separate states by South Africa's last apartheid president FW de Klerk sparked outrage Friday in a nation still overcoming its legacy of repression.
De Klerk, who shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela for working to dismantle the whites-only government, denounced apartheid as morally wrong but justified restricting people to ethnically homogenous "homelands", in an interview on CNN.
"In as much as it trampled human rights, it was, and remains... morally reprehensible," said De Klerk in the interview broadcast on Thursday.
"But the concept of giving - as the Czechs have it and the Slovaks have it - of saying that ethnic unities with one culture, with one language, can be happy and can fulfill their democratic aspirations in an own state, that is not repugnant."
Radio stations, news websites and online social networks buzzed with comments both defending and attacking his views.
"FW de Klerk never lived in a Homeland OR suffered the indignity of a forced removal," radio personality DJ Fresh posted on microblogging site Twitter.
Political commentator Eusebius McKaiser asked supporters to repost a statement "if you think FW de Klerk is not worthy of the award 'Nobel Peace Prize'."
But some supported his views.
"When you negotiated in 1994, why not negotiate for an Afrikaner homeland?" one user posted on the local news24 website, referring to descendants of the first Dutch settlers who ruled the apartheid state.
As apartheid South Africa's last president, De Klerk was instrumental in dismantling white rule and freeing Mandela, who became the country's first black leader in 1994 elections.
The two shared the Nobel in 1993.
The system of "separate development" created 10 ethnic homelands where blacks had citizen rights. Plagued with corruption and never economically independent from apartheid South Africa, they weren't recognised internationally.
- London terror suspect had been detained in Kenya
- Somalia lists 1,345 foreigners in Mogadishu
- Why Obama is visiting Tanzania
- The girl who met Gaddafi 'in hell'
- Sierra Leone gay activist narrowly escapes death
- After Berlin Man, two reported cured of HIV in Kenya
- Kenyan call girls go high-tech
- Tough life for Eritreans two decades after independence
- ICC to 'explore other options' if Kenya fails to cooperate
Beyond the ballot