Nobel winner F.W. de Klerk speaks Wednesday

The former South African president who shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize for helping end his country's apartheid policies speaks Wednesday, March 7 at Mississippi State.

Sponsored by the university's Campus Activities Board, F.W. de Klerk's address will begin at 7 p.m. in Lee Hall's Bettersworth Auditorium. The program is free and open to all.

Praised for his key role in abolishing the harsh racial segregation laws and helping create a multi-racial democracy, de Klerk accepted the high honor with black anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela. Long imprisoned by the white-led government for his efforts, Mandela followed de Klerk in office as president, while de Klerk became a deputy president.

The appearance by de Klerk continues a tradition of recent years to bring Nobel Prize winners to campus. British chemist Harold W. Kroto and French author J.M.G. LeClezio have been others.

In addition to the Nobel, the Johannesburg native's enlightened executive leadership also was recognized with, among other honors, the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Peace and Prince of Asturias awards in 1991 and 1992, respectively.

Following the 1982 resignation of hardline segregationist state president P.W. Botha, de Klerk was named acting head of the one-time British colony that covers most of the southern end of the African continent. Elected in his own right in 1989, he served until Mandela's 1994 inauguration.

A lawyer before entering politics in the early 1970s, he retired from public life in 1997. (For more biographical information, see

For more information, contact Kaitlin Dewitt of the Campus Activities Board at 662-325-2930.

Sammy McDavid | University Relations

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