The journey of one of the proponents of the apartheid system in South Africa “Pik” Botha ended on October 12, 2018. The news of his demise was confirmed by his son. Pik Botha who served as the last Minister of Foreign Affairs under the apartheid system died at the age of 86. Botha’s end was however welcomed with mixed sentiments.
Some South Africans have remained stained and find it very difficult to forgive Botha and other apartheid era leaders. The white minority rule that denied the blacks basic rights continues to affect South Africa. Reacting to the demise; incumbent president Cyril Ramaphosa through his office expressed dismay. Ramaphosa however hailed Botha’s support for a transition to democracy in South Africa and for his involvement in the first democratic administration.
WHO IS PIK BOTHA
‘’Pik’’ Botha whose real identity is Roelof Frederik was born on April 27, 1932. Botha was the last serving Foreign Minister from 1977 to 1994, when the apartheid era culminated. His political career started in 1970 after winning a seat in the then parliament for the National party. Though a supporter of Apartheid, Botha remains renowned for his foresightedness. A glaring example was when the young politician, in 1986 publicly announced a possibility of a black taking over the helm of South Africa’s presidency. He was highly criticised among the white minority and this statement almost cost him his job. It is worth noting that Botha in 2000 objectively announced his intention to join the ruling African National Congress, the political party that championed the fight against decades of racial segregation or white domination. Botha strongly supported Late Mandela and Thabo Mbeki during the post apartheid period.
- Former Apartheid leader de Klerk described Botha as a “unique and colorful personality” who stood for reforms, constitutional negotiations and the release of Mandela from prison during powerful talks with the white minority government in the 80s.
- Under Nelson Mandela, Pik Botha served as the first post-apartheid Minister of Mines and energy for a period of two years from 1994 to 1996.
- Described by some as a ‘’good man who worked under a bad government’’, Mr. Botha was fully involved in the 1988 fruitful and intense peace talks between South Africa,Cuba and thepeople’s republic of Angola .These talks had an objective of putting an end to the south African border war.
Mr. Botha like other South African presidents and officials remains in the history of the country. His efforts in bringing South Africa to where it is today cannot be undermined. In fact Botha can be termed a transitional catalyst that saw an end to white supremacy in South Africa.
Article from the Editorial of AFRIC