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Key Anti-Apartheid leader Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert dies

By Lee Labuschagne     May 14, 2010 in Politics
The former South African leader of the opposition, Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert, has died at his home in Johannesburg on Friday 14 May at the age of 70.
The news broke through various sources including Times Live and Media24. He had been admitted to the Milpark Hospital last week for treatment, reportedly for liver and other problems.
The Star published one of the first obituaries to this political analyst, author, academic and former politician, saying he was “perhaps best remembered for his pioneering work in opening up dialogue between Afrikaners and the exiled African National Congress”.
He was leader of the official opposition at the time Progressive Federal Party (PFP) from 1979 -1986.
Van Zyl Slabbert was born in Pretoria, grew up in what is now the Limpopo Province and matriculated from the Pietersburg Afrikaans High School.
He studied first at the University of the Witwatersrand, but thereafter at Stellenbosch University and was awarded a BA degree, a BA Honours degree (cum laude), an MA degree (also cum laude) and finally a PhD 1967.
He became a sociology lecturer at the universities of Stellenbosch, Rhodes, Cape Town and the Witwatersrand and was appointed as professor in 1973. However, he left academia to enter full-time politics only one year later. His political continued until he retired as leader of the official opposition in 1986.
Slabbert became the Chancellor of his alma mater, the University of Stellenbosch, in 2008, but resigned from that position last year after he suffered a heart attack.
He was a prolific author and his books include among others "The Last White Parliament - The Struggle for South Africa", "South Africa's Options: Strategies for Sharing" (co-authored with David Welsh), "Comrades in Business: Post-Liberation Politics in South Africa" (co-authored with Heribert Adam and Kogila Moodley) and "The Other Side of History: An Anecdotal Reflection on Political Transition in South Africa".
He leaves his wife Jane and two children from his first marriage.
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