It has been confirmed that Table Bay Boulevard in Cape Town will be renamed FW de Klerk Boulevard to honour the former South African president who helped end Apartheid.
Patricia de Lille, the mayor of the City of Cape Town, confirmed that the name change would go ahead. The council will meet on the 28th of January to approve the request, after which the street will be renamed to honour former President de Klerk. It was announced that the proposal complies with the city’s naming policy which states that citizens of the city as well as South Africa may be considered in their lifetime if they have received international recognition.
When the suggestion was first mentioned to de Klerk, he said that he would welcome the idea provided that the street which would be renamed had a politically neural name. The 79-year old former statesman said he was honoured by the decision; however protests were made by the ANC as well as the trade unions. Some politicians see de Klerk as a symbol of the last phase of Apartheid and feel that he should not be viewed as a hero. De Klerk has mentioned in interviews that his negotiations with the ANC were highly influenced by the local and international pressure on the Apartheid government at the time. De Klerk’s role after 1996 was that of a member of opposition parties such as the Democratic Party (DP) and then the New National Party (NNP) so it is arguable how much he was in favour of the ANC government. Nevertheless, his actions and role during his presidency paved the way towards the transition to a new democratic era and that is what he is being given recognition for.
FW de Klerk served as South Africa’s president from 1989 to 1994 and was the last president to serve under Apartheid, after which he also served as Deputy President alongside Thabo Mbeki from 1994 to 1996. FW de Klerk received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, along with Nelson Mandela, for his role in ending Apartheid. He was born in Johannesburg and now resides in Cape Town.