Johannesburg, Apr 10 (ANI): South Africa's last white ruler, FW de Klerk, has said Nelson Mandela was a 'brutal and unfair' political opponent and not a 'holy man'.
Klerk, 76, said the anti-apartheid hero was a principled man of 'stature and strength,' attributable to his aristocratic upbringing in a royal family of the Xhosa tribe.
'But he was not as saintly as he seemed', Klerk, who in 1993 jointly won a Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela, said in a speech about world leaders he has known at a club in Johannesburg, The Telegraph reports.
"I do not subscribe to the general hagiography surrounding Mandela," the former President said, reflecting on their tense negotiations over democratic reforms.
"He was by no means the avuncular and saint like figure so widely depicted today," Klerk added.
The country's ruling African National Congress party spokesperson Keith Khoza said Klerk was poisoning South Africa with his remarks about Mandela.
According to The New Age newspaper, he said that Klerk could not acknowledge Mandela's bravery because he is black.
"De Klerk should acknowledge Mandela and his achievements and understand that his time has passed as a president," the paper quoted Khoza, as saying. (ANI)
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