It is with immense sadness and a heavy heart that we announce the passing of a great man, a stalwart of democracy and a prominent friend of the Prague Society. FW de Klerk was the Honorary President of the Prague Society for International Cooperation, a mentor and friend of Prof. Marc S Ellenbogen.On behalf of everyone at the Society, we express gratitude and wholeheartedly send our condolences to the family of President de Klerk.
“FW de Klerk and I met in an outer passage of Prague Castle in the late 90’s. We were standing next to each other having a cigarette, but not knowing who we were. We were on a break at the first Forum 2000. “Do you by chance know Prof. Ellenbogen and the Prague Society?” he asked me. “Yes I do,” I answered. “I and Elita (his wife) am invited to dinner by him,” he said. “I know, I am him”, I said. He looked at me, sized me up and said, “I thought you were older.” I grinned, and said, “I thought you were younger.” We laughed and laughed. And so began a 20+ -year mentorship, friendship, and his becoming Honorary Chair of The Prague Society for International Cooperation. FW was a man of great faith. Of great passion. Of great insight. He saw things others did not. Believed in a future others objected too. And took the steps to make South Africa a democracy. A Lion in Winter has passed. His spirit will live on.
Marc S. Ellenbogen, President, The Prague Society; Chair, The Global Panel Foundation