Farewell to FW de Klerk, controversial political leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate

We were sorry to hear of the death of Frederik Willem (FW) de Klerk, former president of South Africa who died on 11 November 2021 at the age of 85. De Klerk stayed briefly at the College in the 1950s and retained fond memories of his time in Mecklenburgh Square.

FW de Klerk was born in Johannesburg in 1936, into a line of Afrikaner National Party politicians. It was after graduating from Potchefstroom University with BA and LlB degrees that he came to the UK as an Abe Bailey Bursar – staying in London House for six weeks (1958-59) as an Abe Bailey Bursar. (The College has helped to organise the Abe Bailey scheme – designed to foster leadership skills – since its inception.)

Many thanks to Alumnus Prof PM Leary for providing this photo. As the WGH ‘rep’ in South Africa, Mick Leary was asked to present the President with a London House tie and a copy of A place to remember: The history of London House, William Goodenough House and The Burn to remind him of his student days in London. Mick (pictured right), accompanied by London House Alumnus Judge Patrick Tebbutt, were very cordially received by President de Klerk.

FW de Klerk’s last known visit to the College was in 2010, when he contributed to The World in a London Square: A Portrait of Goodenough College.