South African apartheid-era foreign minister Pik Botha dies

16 October 1994 Mangosuthu Buthelezi Nelson Mandela and Pik Botha attend a rally

16 October 1994 Mangosuthu Buthelezi Nelson Mandela and Pik Botha attend a rally

Often willing to passionately debate critics, the longtime foreign minister was vilified around the world while drawing the ire of his own boss, President P.W. Botha, when he said in 1986 that South Africa might one day have a black leader.

He is survived by his second wife Ina, two sons, the rock musician Piet Botha and the economist Roelof Botha, along with two daughters, Anna Hertzog and artist Lien Botha.

"As you know, originally we were enemies", Mr Botha told the BBC in 2013.

While some observers considered Botha, a reformer in the hard-line National Party administrations he served under, for many black South Africans on Twitter, he was an "arrogant" technocrat who used his talents to sanitise an oppressive regime.

Botha was described by some as a "good man working for a bad government" despite years of defending the apartheid system.

The reduction in regional tensions was followed by the 1990 release of Mandela, who had spent 27 years in apartheid prisons.

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Pik Botha then served as minister of mineral and energy affairs under Mr Mandela from 1994 to 1996, when he retired from politics.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his condolences on the passing of Pik Botha.

De Klerk also refers to Botha's "unique and colourful personality", adding in the statement that was what made him enter politics to begin with.

Former president FW de Klerk urges South Africa to remember Botha as a prominent and consistent advocate of reform. "He also stood for National Party leadership because he was a likeable figure".

His profile rose as he became an envoy to the U.S. and United Nations, then assumed the post of foreign minister in 1977, serving mainly under PW Botha.

He says that Botha played a pivotal role in steering the country towards democracy.

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