In the heyday of Die Burger newspaper and the National Party (NP) — for which the publication served as both house journal and chief cheerleader — their influence was consequential and often baleful. Posterity attributes to long-time Die Burger editor the late Piet Cillie the quote: “We had to practise apartheid to prove it could not work.”

Little wonder that in his 2010 book The Rise and Fall of Apartheid David Welsh described Cillie  as “a professional cynic”, pointing to his waspish observation on the improbable reforms unleashed by the hitherto staunch conservative FW de Klerk, the last NP president: “We had a choice between certain downfall and probable downfall; De Klerk chose the latter.”..

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