In final message, apartheid's last leader apologizes

The last apartheid-era president of South Africa, F.W. de Klerk, died on Thursday, and that same day, his foundation released a video of de Klerk apologizing for the crimes committed during decades of apartheid.

"I, without qualification, apologize for the pain and the hurt and the indignity and the damage that apartheid has done to Black, Brown and Indians in South Africa."

The foundation did not say when the video was recorded.

"Since the early 80s, my views changed completely. It was as if I had a conversion.”

De Klerk won praise worldwide for his role in scrapping apartheid

He's seen globally as a politician who released racial-justice activist Nelson Mandela from prison, and then together with Mandela negotiated a peaceful transfer of power from white-minority rule to a black-majority democratic government.

"Apartheid was wrong. I realized that we had arrived at a place which was morally unjustifiable.“

He shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela in 1993.

In South Africa, many saw him as a controversial figure who had shown little remorse for the crimes committed during the apartheid regime.

In Johannesburg, people on the streets might forgive, but they do not forget.

"Granted the time he was president and the actions that he did take prior to becoming president are bad, very bad. Sinful. It was the mass genocide of black people, and as a human being, you can't agree with that. But at the same time, you have to look at the actions that he did take that changed the country."

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday praised de Klerk's courage for leading his country toward justice.

"He did play a key role in ushering in democracy in our country."

De Klerk sparked a widespread backlash last year when he told a national broadcaster that he did not believe apartheid was a crime against humanity.

His death comes after a battle with cancer, diagnosed earlier this year. He was 85.

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