Former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk has left what he called his "last message" after his death. In the prerecorded video, he apologizes for supporting apartheid when he was young.
The FW de Klerk Foundation released the seven-minute video addressed to the people of South Africa, after he died on Thursday at the age of 85.
De Klerk confessed that he had defended apartheid in his younger years, but said his views had changed completely since the early 1980s. He said, "It was as if I had a conversion. And in my heart of hearts, I realized that apartheid was wrong."
He said he apologized on many occasions but some people did not believe him. He added, "Therefore, let me today in this last message, repeat. 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."
Although De Klerk belonged to the white-minority ruling party, he worked hard to abolish apartheid, a policy of segregation and discrimination against the non-white majority. He shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela in 1993 for their efforts to steer South Africa from apartheid to democracy.
De Klerk also expressed hope for the future of his country in the message. He said, "I firmly believe that if we take hands and if all the reasonable people in South Africa put their heads together, we can overcome the challenges we face and we can fulfill the tremendous potential that South Africa has."
He closed the message by saying, "May the South African nation show the courage and the ingenuity to achieve this."