The Nobel Peace Prize list shows South Africans are leading others in fight for peace in Africa

Since 1901, there are only 11 Nobel Peace Prize winners in Africa and majority of them are South Africans.

The next country is Egypt with two Nobel Peace Prize winners - Anwar El Sadat and Mohammed El Baradei. This shows South Africans are doing more than others in the quest for peaceful coexistence in Africa.

Nobel Prize is global award instituted in 1895 by the Swedish investor, Alfred Nobel. In his will written in 1895, he dedicated a huge part of his wealth to be given as prize to great achievers in the field of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and Peace.

Hence, the Peace Prize is one of the five annual global awards conferred on individuals for enhancing humanity with their knowledge and activities.

Here is the list of Africans that have the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize and reason(s).

1.    Albert Luthuli – South Africa, 1960

Albert Luthuli is the first African to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was awarded the prize in 1960, for leading a nonviolent resistance against racial discrimination in South Africa.

Albert’s activism was inspired and influenced by the non-violence social resistance philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi.

2.    Mohammed Anwar Al-Sadat – Egypt, 1978

Anwar Al-Sadat was awarded the Peace Prize alongside former Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin, for their contributions towards peace in the Middle East.

The Camp David’s accord of 1978 earned both leaders this prestigious prize in the same year. This accord is  widely noted to have ingratiated currently enjoyed peace by Israel and its neighbours.

3.    Desmond Mpilu Tutu – South Africa, 1984

Arch. Bishop Desmond Tutu is a retired Anglican bishop whose activism helped in peaceful ending of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

He was a major rallying point for majority of organisations fighting the apartheid regimes. He was conferred with the Peace Prize in 1984.

The Nobel committee said about him: ‘his clear views and his fearless stance, are characteristics which had made him a unifying symbol for all African freedom fighters.’

4.    Nelson Mandela – South Africa, 1993

Nelson Mandela is one of the most celebrated African leaders and freedom fighters. Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize alongside Frederik Willem de Klerk for ending the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Moreso, the Peace and Reconciliation Committee, which was constituted by him, helped  in addressing pre and post-apartheid problems in South Africa.

5.    Frederik Willem De Klerk – South Africa, 1993

Frederik Willem De Klerk ended the apartheid regime in South Africa.  He initiated the call for a non-racist South Africa immediately he resumed office in 1989.

His reform programmes assisted in bringing peace among the Black and White South Africans. As a result, the Noble Committee awarded him the Peace Prize alongside Nelson Mandela in 1993.

6.    Kofi Annan – Ghana, 2001

Kofi Annan is the former Secretary General of United Nations Organisation. In 2001, he was given the award, alongside UNO, for working towards a better and more peaceful world.

His efforts towards revitalizing the roles of UNO among the comity of nations were notable. During his administration of the global body, the UNO achieved invaluable results in managing global affairs.

7.    Wangari Maathai – Kenya, 2004

Wangari Maathai is the first African woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She is the founder of Green Belt Movement and an environmental activist.

Her activities in entrenching democracy in Kenya earned her national and international limelight. As a result, she was deemed fit for the Prize in 2004.

8.    Mohammed El Baradei – Egypt, 2005

Mohammed El Baradei earned this global prize for his efforts towards peaceful use of nuclear energy around the world.

He was the former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). His contributions towards achieving the UN’s nuclear nonproliferation program earned him the Peace Prize in 2005.

9.    Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf – Liberia, 2011

Ellen Johnson –Sirleaf earned the Peace Prize for her role in promoting peaceful participation of women in politics and peace building in Africa.

She shared the award with other two women – Lymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen, in 2011.

She is also the first elected female head of state in Africa.

10.    Gbowee Leymah – Liberia, 2011

Gbowee Leymah role during the Liberian conflict earned her the Peace Prize in 2011. During the conflicts, she served as major voice rallying women across ethnic and religious to fight for the return of peace.

Gbowee trip to Ghana to meet the warring Liberian factions was identified major step that kick-start the process the saw the end of the conflict.

11.    National Dialogue Quartet - Tunisia, 2015

After the Arab Spring of 2011, the National Dialogue Quartet took charge of the process that led to the democracy in Tunisia.

The group is made up of four organisations - the Tunisian General Labor Union, the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, the Tunisian Human Rights League, and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers.

The group succeeded in creating a peaceful dialogue and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015 for effectively mid-wifing of the process.


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