TONIGHT at 9.15 pm on eNCA (DStv channel 403), viewers can watch the international documentary, The Other Man, which profiles FW de Klerk and his role in ending apartheid.
De Klerk was South Africa’s last apartheid president and the man who unbanned the African National Congress (ANC) and released Nelson Mandela. This documentary offers fascinating insights into why a man who came from a conservative Afrikaner background, took such a bold step.
The Other Man also probes the relationship between De Klerk and Mandela. Bound together by history, they received a joint Nobel Peace Prize, but their relationship was anything but harmonious. At first cordial, tensions emerged between the two when attacks on black South Africans continued even after De Klerk had unbanned the ANC and promised a new vision for the country.
Many in South Africa have mixed feelings about De Klerk. He freed Mandela, apologised for apartheid to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but continued to maintain that he knew nothing of the undercover death squads that murdered so many activists. These killings that occurred while he served on the cabinet and when he was State President.
Award-winning American filmmaker and producer, Nicolas Rossier explains why he chose De Klerk as a subject: “To me, De Klerk is the consummate documentary subject: a complicated and misunderstood figure.
“He is often mentioned by historians as one of the most transformational leaders of our last century, alongside Mikhail Gorbachev. Yet many see him as merely a pragmatist and opportunistic statesman who assured himself a soft landing. I believe the reality is more complicated.”
Rossier speaks to De Klerk as well as former SA President Thabo Mbeki, author William Gumede, former activist and constitutional court judge Albie Sachs, journalists Max du Preez and Allister Sparks, former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Chester Crocker and Yasmin Sooka who served on the TRC.
The documentary will be repeated at 9.15 am tomorrow, 1.15 pm on August 1, 8.45 pm on August 2, 2.45 pm on August 3, 11.15 am on August 5 and 10.15 pm on August 6.