FW De Klerk I Former President
My Definition Of Success | The conventional definition of success is the ability to turn one’s dreams and plans into reality. Perhaps, more importantly, success is the ability to stay true to the values on which you have based your life. Any person who is able to do this will be a success – regardless of the hand that fate deals him or her.
I Am Driven By | I come from a family who have long been inspired by the idea of service. Naturally, everyone wants to be recognized and respected but I was driven primarily by the wish to make a difference for the better.
My Highlights | The greatest highlight in my life – apart from the happiness that I have derived from my closest personal relationships – was the opportunity that I had to lead South Africa out of the hopeless situation in which we found ourselves at the end of the 1980s to our non-racial constitutional democracy – and the enormous promise that it holds for all our people for justice, prosperity and peace.
A Key Talent | Perhaps the most important strength is the ability to listen. The first step in any process is the ability to understand the people, challenges and opportunities in one’s environment. The only way you can do this is by listening carefully to as many people as possible. It is also crucially important to keep on testing your own ideas and preconceptions against the ideas and advice of others. Great leaders should never be threatened by the good ideas of others – or imagine that they themselves always have the right answers.
How I Use My Mind | Some people deal with problems in an inductive manner. They approach the world on a pragmatic basis and formulate policies that they think will work in practice regardless of the principles involved. Pragmatism is important – but as a student of the law and a member of the Gereformeerde Church – my point of departure has always been the underlying principles involved in any situation: is it just and equitable? Can it be reconciled with core legal and religious principles? If not, the contemplated action is wrong – regardless of how pragmatic it may appear to be.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | I am inspired by many factors throughout my career: by my mother and father; by my religion; by my interaction with many wonderful people; by my exposure to the rich cultural heritage of our country and of the West; and by the exquisite beauty of our country. However, my main inspiration now is the vision and values in our Constitution.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | My greatest dream would be to see South Africa moving toward the realization for all its people of the foundational values in our Constitution: human dignity, the achievement of equality, the advancement of human rights and freedoms; non-racialism and non-sexism; the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law; and a genuine multiparty democracy that is open, responsive and accountable.
Advice On Building Wealth | I would suggest that they should consider very carefully what true riches and wealth are. I know plenty of people who have made a great deal of money who are neither really successful or happy. The key to real riches may rather lie in serving others – including one’s family; one’s friends and one’s society.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | A South Africa that is true to the vision and values of the Constitution
Website | www.fwdeklerk.org/