Dalai Lama mourns demise of ex-South African President


Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Friday mourned the death of former President of South Africa, F.W. de Klerk.

In a letter to his widow, Elita de Klerk, the spiritual leader said: “He was a man of principle who worked relentlessly for the rights of every individual in order to achieve peace and harmony in society, whether in South Africa or elsewhere.

“I also appreciate that he oversaw the dismantling of South Africa’s nuclear weapons program.

“Over the years, we had the opportunity to meet at various forums in our collective efforts, as Nobel Peace Laureates, to promote better understanding among nations and peoples with the intention of building a safer, more peaceful world.”

In conclusion His Holiness wrote: “Although he is no more, we can take comfort from the fact that your husband lived a meaningful life.”

De Klerk, who died on Thursday at the age of 85, was recognised for his role in dismantling the apartheid regime in South Africa and bringing universal suffrage.

He was South Africa’s President from 1989 to 1994. After the election of Nelson Mandela as the country’s first black President in 1994, de Klerk became Mandela’s Deputy till 1996.

De Klerk and Mandela were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for their achievements in ending apartheid.