Gareth Cotterell
Digital News Editor
2 minute read
14 Nov 2021
1:12 pm

FW de Klerk’s funeral will be a private ceremony for family only

Gareth Cotterell

The former president’s foundation said the funeral will be held on Sunday, 21 November.

Former deputy president FW de Klerk. Picture: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach

The funeral of the former president of apartheid South Africa, FW de Klerk, will be held privately, his foundation announced on Sunday.

In a statement, the FW de Klerk Foundation said the former statesman’s cremation and funeral will be held on Sunday, 21 November.

It said that the ceremony will be for family members only, adding that it will not be open to the media.

This means that De Klerk, the last president of South Africa under apartheid, will not have a state funeral.

De Klerk died on Thursday after losing his battle with mesothelioma cancer. He was 85 years old.

ALSO READ: WATCH: FW de Klerk speaks from the dead, apologises for apartheid’s pain

Since his passing, debate has raged over whether De Klerk should get an official send-off or not.

Experts suggested that denying the man who served as deputy president to Nelson Mandela in the government of national unity a state funeral would not only be unconstitutional but also divisive.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said he was awaiting confirmation from the FW de Klerk Foundation about what they had planned for the funeral.

The EFF, however, said it would oppose the state funeral De Klerk “by all means necessary”.

Actress Pearl Thusi also said a state funeral would be ‘a huge middle finger to the people who suffered under the apartheid regime’. “[In] fact we must disrupt that funeral if it’s declared a state funeral. There’s just no way,” Thusi added.

ALSO READ: ‘If De Klerk gets a state funeral, we must disrupt it,’ says Pearl Thusi

On Saturday, Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Thembi Nkadimeng, said De Klerk qualifies for an official state funeral, but this doesn’t mean he deserved one.

Nkadimeng’s sister, Nokuthula Simelane, was abducted in September 1983 by the special branch of the apartheid police.

Nkadimeng says De Klerk’s death has reignited old wounds for her and her family after spending nearly four decades searching for answers about Simelane’s disappearance, who was a former Umkhonto we Sizwe operative and anti-apartheid activist.

“To those who think he [De Klerk] deserves a state funeral, to me he doesn’t deserve it, he qualifies for it,” she said.

“If he gets it it will be by qualification but he doesn’t deserve it.”

Additional reporting by Sipho Mabena and Thapelo Lekabe

NOW READ: Denying De Klerk a state send-off would be ‘unconstitutional’, ‘divisive’