Marike de Klerk PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 07 November 2008 10:51





Mr and Mrs de Klerk

Marike de Klerk

Born: 17 November 1937, Pretoria

Died: 4 December 2001, Cape Town, South Africa

Age: 64

Cause of death: Stabbed and strangled.

Notable because: Married for 39 years to Nobel peace prize winner and dismantler of Apartheid, F W De Klerk, she became a high profile statistic in the South African crime epidemic.


Marike de Klerk  was the wife of Frederik Willem de Klerk, the former President of South Africa. Mr FW de Klerk and Marike de Klerk divorced in 1998.

Marike was born into a relatively privileged Afrikaans family. Her father, Wilhelm Willemse, was an academic and writer. He was Professor of Social Pathology and Psychology at Pretoria University.

Marike met her future husband, F.W. de Klerk, at Potchefstroom University (where she was studying for a degree in commerce). The couple later married and adopted three children together; Jan, Willem, and Susan.

F.W. de Klerk and Marike de Klerk were married for 39 years before divorcing in 1998. Mr. de Klerk remarried a week later.

In 2000 she faced further emotional upheaval when her relationship with her fiance and businessman Johan Koekemoer, collapsed. Yet the media revealed that he was facing impending bankruptcy. Marike de Klerk defended her fiance, but soon after he faced a nervous breakdown and checked into a Pretoria clinic.

In the later years of her life, she battled depression.

During her husband's presidency, Marike was the leader of the National Party's women's wing.

In 1993, she was awarded the Woman for Peace Award in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1993, for promoting the well being and development of rural women.

She later wrote and released two books. In A Journey Through Summer and Winter she explored her marriage of 39 years with FW de Klerk. Later in A Place Where the Sun Shines Again she offered guidance to women facing divorce later in life.

On 4th December 2001, Marike de Klerk was murdered in her Cape Town apartment.

In May 2003, former security guard, Luayanda Mboniswa was convicted of her murder. 

Her murder led to many high-profile figures speaking out. South African president Thabo Mbeki remarked that she was a "strong, charming and dignified woman".. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela stated that "As a woman, I can identify with the exhaustion of her emotional resources in shaping her former husband's career,".

Her former husband, FW de Klerk released a statement: "I have learned with great shock and sorrow of the circumstances of the tragic death of my former wife Marike,"


Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 December 2008 15:48

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