It could have been a bloodbath of historic proportions. But instead, one man made the end of apartheid possible: in February 1990, President F.W. de Klerk lifted the ban on the African National Congress and ordered the release of Nelson Mandela. As the world celebrated, Mandela would go on to become South Africa’s first democratically elected president — with de Klerk as his Vice President. Many films have been made about Nelson Mandela and the history of apartheid; few have taken on the challenge of bringing his predecessor – F.W. de Klerk to the screen, keeping him in the shadow of his exploits.
But de Klerk’s history is complicated. Before becoming president, he headed several ministries during the policy of “Total Onslaught, Total Strategy” against African National Congress activists. De Klerk had been a virulent defender of white Africans and their privileges, and his own term as president was marred by political violence — often at the hands of his own security forces. What pushed this man to reverse his beliefs and jumpstart the process of making South Africa a more equal and just nation?
Featuring in-depth interviews with F.W. de Klerk, former South African president Thabo Mbeki (1999-2008), anti-apartheid activists Father Michael Lapsley and Mathews Phosa, Yasmin Sooka of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Richard Goldstone (who headed the Goldstone Commission investigations into political violence) and many others, filmmaker Nic Rossier explores the fascinating political journey and legacy of this complex figure. Nations mired in conflict and recovering from civil war will benefit from better understanding this flawed, yet ultimately successful political leader that managed to bridge two opposing worlds. Ultimately, The Other Man explores the trajectory of this unique nation and reflects on how the end of apartheid will CONTINUE to shape South Africans and the world for years to come.
Watch the The Other Man FW de Klerk and the End of Apartheid trailer.