Former president FW de Klerk is a man of international prominence: He was instrumental in negotiations which brought a final end to apartheid, he was the man to sign off on the release of former president Nelson Mandela, he was the recipient of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize – and a handful of references also point to him as a bridge player.
Most references to bridge and FW de Klerk are scarce, scattered throughout books (like Vulnerable in Hearts: A Memoir of Fathers, Sons and Contract Bridge) and articles (Eisenhower’s Other Title: Bridge Player in Chief; NY Times, 2009) with a brief mention and, unfortunately, little background.
I finally received an e-mail from the FW de Klerk Foundation through Brenda, personal assistant to Mr de Klerk, that clarifies.
The official response appears below – and I’m glad to be able to confirm that we both share an admiration for the great game of bridge!
“Mr De Klerk used to play a lot of bridge at university level but neglected it afterwards. He was never a fully committed contract bridge player and never read a manual on bridge. However, he still reads bridge columns wherever he can find them, and he is a great admirer of the game.”