Roelf Meyer

Chief Negotiator: National Party (NP) 1991-1993
This white South African son of a farmer became famous during the tense negotiations leading up to the free elections when he was able to build an easy rapport with the ANC’s chief negotiator. Cyril Ramaphosa and Roelf Meyer symbolized the potential for the two sides to meet and move forward, without violence.
They first met when Meyer helicoptered into a spot where Ramaphosa was fishing. Meyer said he wanted to learn how to fish. He failed. (In fact, Ramaphosa had to give Meyer whiskey to ease the pain when the latter embedded a barbed fish hook in his ring finger.) Although the fishing lesson had failed, the two opponents had learnt to talk each other as men, not enemies.
The two also worked closely with Dr Niel Barnard, the head of the National Intelligence Service and another strong supporter of a negotiated settlement. After the country’s first free elections, the man first appointed by F.W. De Klerk, became Minister of Constitutional Development under the new President, Nelson Mandela. And it was there that he once again worked with Ramaphosa.
He has since left politics, though he still acts as a consultant on peace processes around the world.