F.W. de Klerk

F.W. de Klerk, President of South Africa between the years 1989 and 1994, died this week at the age of 85.  He was fated to play an extraordinary historic role in leading the country out of apartheid, together with his fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela.  It was a huge achievement, though his role was controversial, not without detractors on either side of the divide.

Birth Chart

With Sun in Pisces, and no planets in Air signs, de Klerk would have operated a great deal on instinct, although Capricorn was also prominent in his chart, conveying his pragmatism and his conservative politics. Six out of his ten planets were in Mutable signs, and he needed that flexibility, to pull off the historic U-turn for his country. He had a packed 3rd House of Communication, containing Venus/Mercury, Saturn/I.C. and the Sun: this marked him out as a Communicator, and he certainly was known for speechmaking and debate.  Reinforcing this skill was Mercury exactly sextile with his North Node (karmic mission).  He was a man of tremendous energy, with a powerhouse Mars in Aries square Pluto (which could be used destructively, arguably in actions and policies followed during the apartheid years), and a hugely enthusiastic Mars trine Jupiter.  Mars was sextile his natal North Node in Capricorn (Statesmanship and Politics) in his 1st House, helping him to fulfil his karmic mission.  Jupiter was conjunct his Ascendant by 5 degrees, from the 12th House, giving him great positivity and the ability to dream, hope and envision.  Neptune was exactly opposite Saturn in his chart, running across his MC/IC Axis – he was not able to please everyone, and it was an uncomfortable state of being, but in many ways necessary to the task that he had to balance them.  This combination provided a sense of spiritual responsibility. Uranus was also trine North Node in Capricorn, adding the necessity of effecting change to his karmic mission. But the Midheaven trine North Node gave him the ability to harmoniously combine the conventional career with the karmic mission.

Family Background

Looking at his life and his chart, he seems to have been born to fulfil his later role.  His father Jan de Klerk was a politician, who played an active role in the formation of apartheid.  F.W. de Klerk took up law as a career, then entered politics within the apartheid regime of the National Party. His elder brother Willem, meanwhile, was more progressive in his views.  There is an interesting karmic astrological slant to the family story, in that when F.W. reached the age of 12 and his father was actively involved in politics, his progressed Sun reached a sextile with his natal Chiron (the wounded healer, that which we seek to heal and go on to help others with).  Thus was the wound highlighted in his chart.  The relationship between his chart and his father’s shows the seeds of how he may go on later to reverse his father’s policies: they had opposed Marses, and squared Jupiters.  But even more crucially, their Nodal Axes were squared. There is a case for seeing that the overall plan for the family was to be involved in the making and reversing of apartheid.  His father Jan’s North Node (karma) was at 10 degs Libra, trine F.W.’s Chiron.  In 1948, around the time apartheid was instituted, F.W.’s Progressed Sun was opposite his father’s North Node, on his father’s South Node of past life karma.  So he later helped dismantle an injustice which his father helped implement!  F.W.’s Mars in Aries was exactly conjunct, and therefore in perfect alignment with, the Mars in South Africa’s own chart.

Nobel Peace Prize

F.W. de Klerk did participate in years of apartheid politics.  As education minister he upheld segregation in schools.  His ability as a peacemaker (South Node in Libra, past-life pattern) showed then in his constant efforts at unity within the party.  From 1984 P.W. Botha was President of South Africa, then in January 1989 he had a mild stroke and continued for a while.  On 2 February 1989, F.W. de Klerk took over as party leader.  The heavier planets weighed in at the time:  transiting Saturn was conjunct his natal North Node in Capricorn in 1st House, taking up political responsibilities; Uranus was trine his natal Uranus – A new path; Pluto trined his natal Saturn – again, added serious responsibilities; and Pluto sextile his natal Midheaven in Virgo in 9th House – suggesting what was to be the moral imperative of his future career development.  He came under increasing pressure to help release anti-apartheid activist and freedom fighter Nelson Mandela from prison, including from Margaret Thatcher.  He became President on 20th September 1989, with Jupiter transiting his natal South Node (reaping a karmic reward). Looking back in his memoir “Long Walk to Freedom”, Nelson Mandela said that at this point:

“To us, Mr de Klerk was a cipher. When he became head of the national party, he seemed to be the quintessential party man, nothing more and nothing less. Nothing in his past seemed to hint at a spirit of reform. As education minister, he had attempted to keep black students out of white universities. But as soon as he took over the national party, I began to follow him closely. I read all of his speeches, listened to what he said and began to see that he represented a genuine departure from his predecessor. He was not an ideologue but a pragmatist, a man who saw change as necessary and inevitable.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu was also sceptical:

“I don’t think we’ve got to even begin to pretend that there is any reason for thinking that we are entering a new phase. It’s just musical chairs”.

But F.W. showed, starting with a policy of allowing anti-apartheid marches to take place, that he could earn their trust.

On 2nd February 1990, he made a historic speech to Parliament:

“History has placed a tremendous responsibility on the shoulders of this country’s leadership, namely the responsibility of moving our country away from the current course of conflict and confrontation… The hope of millions of South Africans is fixed on us. The future of southern Africa depends on us. We dare not waver or fail.”

Transiting Jupiter was trine his natal Venus exact to the day, promoting his personal charisma.  Saturn was squaring his natal Mars, symbolic of his going against the grain of his past.  The A.N.C. (African National Congress, the party which Nelson Mandela belonged to) would be legalized, among other reforms.  This paved the way for Mandela’s release, which took place on 11th February.  Mandela had a Jupiter Return at the time (Freedom!), and in their synastry, F.W. de Klerk’s Jupiter was conjunct Mandela’s Ascendant: literally, he was the man who would free him!  How pre-destined does that sound?  In their synastry, F.W.’s Pluto was also conjunct Mandela’s Sun, showing that he would have a profound impact on his life.

The two together began to dismantle apartheid, and on 30th April 1993 de Klerk apologized for the effects of apartheid.  It was a balancing act which didn’t go far enough for some, but went too far for others.  The Nodal Axis was square to his Saturn-Neptune opposition and I.C./M.C axis., showing that it was a karmic requirement.  In addition, Pluto was trine his natal Pluto, which astrologically showed it to be a powerful act of self-empowerment for his Soul.

At the end of that year, their joint work earned them a Nobel Peace Prize for ending apartheid in South Africa.  Mandela’s transits were more remarkable than his collaborator’s: Jupiter was trine his natal Pluto and sextile his Midheaven, signs of great recognition.

In 1994, Nelson Mandela took over as democratically elected President, an election which included suffrage for the black population, and de Klerk became Deputy President.


F.W. de Klerk was married twice, and had three children from his first marriage.

He became ill in March 2021, diagnosed with mesothelioma, and he died on 11th November.

Jupiter was sextile his natal Jupiter in the 12th House, a transit often seen when the elderly pass, as a release.  Pluto was also opposite his natal Pluto in Cancer in the 7th House, again often seen when an elderly person completes their life cycle.

Karma shows up strongly as a positive force in his life, with two sextiles and two trines to his North Node.  He certainly achieved something remarkable for his country.


We have a square between Venus and Chiron tomorrow (Monday 15th), which is sensitive for healing and relationship.  If there is an emotional crisis, then healing could be near at hand.  Equally, natural remedies may be readily found for minor physical ailments.  An aspect for care of the self and others.

Another square in the evening, Sun square Jupiter, presents us with another challenge.  This square can give rise to grandiose thoughts and gargantuan exploits, exaggerating everything it comes into contact with.  There is also a joyful, humorous side of Sun square Jupiter too though, so try some laughter-yoga, or looking at the positives of these interesting times.

 Tuesday (16th) is a more balanced day, with a sextile in the evening between the Sun and Pluto.  This could bring a profoundly satisfying note in some way. You may have to put in the inner work of soul searching to find the treasure, but the force is likely to be with you.  It is an aspect which may help to show us the direction we need to solve our collective problems, and understanding the meaning behind our dilemmas.  There is an air of quiet contemplation about it, too.

More caution is needed on Wednesday (17th) when Uranus opposes Mars, and tempers could flare.  This aspect can be disruptive, and incident-prone.  Try to minimize health and safety risks under this aspect, especially in connection with cars, dogs, machinery and electrical appliances.  You may find people extra excitable and calmness may be a valuable commodity. Brush up your meditational skills, and be a port in the storm.

Thursday (18th) brings an antidote, a soothing trine between Mercury and Neptune.  This aspect brings the possibility of mysteries being solved, e.g. around health conditions.  In personal applications, things may fall into place spiritually, and you may be ready to talk about a sensitive subject.  This trine brings mental inspiration, transcendent wisdom, higher harmony, spiritual journeys, and insight.  A small kindness can bring about significant mental healing.

The constructive theme continues early on Friday (19th) with Venus trine Uranus.  If you’re up early you may catch some good news. The aspect may set you up with insights for the following week, or bring encounters of the illuminating kind.  In the field of the Arts, it can bring originality and surprise, e.g. to a performance of music.  Ideas for assisting the problems in our society may also crop up, such as community based solutions. This aspect is also favourable for spontaneous exciting meetings.

This effect may be complicated soon after by the advent of the Full Moon and Eclipse at 27 degrees Taurus, close to the Pleiades.  Your emotions may be stirred and you may be motivated to try to resolve in an issue you care passionately about (Taurus and the Sun in opposite sign Scorpio are Fixed signs).  If you are of an artistic bent, you can plough this feeling into your creativity.  You may get a sense of how an issue will pan out over the next six months.

Finally, another square on Saturday (20th) between Mercury and Jupiter: You may have far to travel, or a lot to learn, and feel overstretched, but could enjoy the ride nevertheless.  It would however be a good day to be out in nature, taking a good stroll through the Autumn leaves, and picking up information.  The aspect occurs late in the day, but you may enjoy the effects during the day, or the following day.

Do check out my new interview, below, if you have the stamina…

The week in bullet points:

  • Tomorrow – healing and overstretching
  • Tuesday – profound contemplation
  • Wednesday – explosive
  • Thursday – serene
  • Friday – socially exciting; emotional high tide
  • Saturday – mentally stretching