The late former South African president Nelson Mandela, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, stands with his friend anti-apartheid veteran Ahmed Kathrada. File photo: Debbie Yazbek/Nelson Mandela Foundation
The late former South African president Nelson Mandela, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, stands with his friend anti-apartheid veteran Ahmed Kathrada. File photo: Debbie Yazbek/Nelson Mandela Foundation

Five things to know about the Nobel Peace Prize

By Shifaan Ryklief Time of article published Oct 9, 2021

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Cape Town – Two journalists were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway on Friday, honouring the right to free speech which the prize-giving committee described as “under threat around the globe”.

Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov were given the award “for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia,” Chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen of the Norwegian Nobel Committee told a news conference, Reuters reported..

Here are five things you need to know about this prestigious accolade.

Nobel prizes consist of five awards

The Nobel Peace Prize is one of five prizes which also include honours for physics, medicine, chemistry and literature. A sixth honour, the Nobel memorial prize in economic sciences, is administered by the Nobel Foundation and although not technically a Nobel prize, is identified with the award.

On Tuesday, three scientists were awarded the Nobel prize for physics for their work on climate change. Syukuro Manabe from the United States and Germany’s Klaus Hasselmann worked on models that helped predict global warming, while Giorgio Parisi from Italy earned his award for the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales.

The Nobel prize in medicine was jointly awarded to David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their work to unlock one of nature’s secrets by explaining the molecular basis for sensing heat, cold and mechanical force.

Benjamin List from Germany and Scotland’s David MacMillan earned the Nobel prize in chemistry for their development of a new tool for molecular construction which greatly impacted on pharmaceutical research.

On Thursday, Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah won the Nobel prize for literature for his “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents”.

Youngest Nobel Prize Laureates

Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan is the youngest recipient after she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 at the age of 17. Malala won the award jointly with Kailash Satyarthi for their “struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”.

Prior to Malala, Australia’s Lawrence Bragg was awarded the Nobel prize in physics in 1915 at the age of 25, while 25-year-old Nadia Murad from Iraq claimed the peace prize in 2018.

Africans awarded Nobel prizes

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed received the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with Eritrea.

Other notable laureates include the late former South African President Nelson Mandela for his role in the fight against apartheid laws in 1993, while Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege claimed the 2018 Peace Prize for his role to assist war rape victims, and in 2011 Leyman Gbowee from Liberia earned her award for her efforts to improve women’s safety.

Leareates who declined the prize

In 1973, Le Duc Tho was awarded the peace prize for playing a role in negotiations for a cease fire in the Vietnamese war but said he was “not in a position” to accept it.

Jean-Paul Sartre from France declined the prize in literature in 1964 for his work which was “rich in ideas and filled with the spirit of freedom and quest for truth”. Sartre had consistently declined various other honours previously.

Laureates who were under arrest at time of award

German journalist Carl von Ossietzky, Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi and Liu Xiaobo from China were all under arrest at the time of their Nobel awards.

African News Agency (ANA)

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