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Pik Botha remembered differently across political divide

While many are disagreeing about the role he played in the country’s history, he’s also being remembered with interesting details and anecdotes of his public life.

Former Foreign Affairs Minister Pik Botha at his home in Pretoria on 17 April 2012. Picture: Gallo Images/Foto24/Lisa Hnatowicz

CAPE TOWN - Former apartheid minister Pik Botha is being remembered differently across the political divide following his death at the age of 86.

He died peacefully at a Pretoria hospital on Thursday night.

While many are disagreeing about the role he played in the country’s history, he’s also being remembered with interesting details and anecdotes of his public life.

Botha lived a long life after cheating death 30 years ago. He was due to fly on the ill-fated Pan Am flight from London to New York, that exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Botha was on his way to the Namibian independence ratification ceremony when the booking was cancelled, and he and six delegates took an earlier flight.

WATCH: The life of Pik Botha

As an apartheid minister of 17 years, he is the country's longest-serving foreign affairs minister, beaten to the world record by Saudi Arabia's Saud Al Faisal who served for 30 years.

Botha’s love of alcohol was no secret and legend has it he would make newbies to his red wine drinking sessions sip from a skull as an induction.

Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom sat next to Botha in Nelson Mandela’s Cabinet, and says he wishes he had kept the many notes Botha scribbled to him; a man he says was not only of great intellect but also had a keen sense of humour.

LISTEN: The life & times of Pik Botha

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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