Statement by Nelson Mandela on the announcement of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize

15 October 1993

Today's announcement that I have been named to receive this most prestigious award for peace was a deeply humbling experience. The Nobel Peace Prize is amongst the highest accolades that can be bestowed on any human being. To be chosen from amongst the millions of deserving men and women throughout the world is a singular honour to which grave responsibilities are attached.

This is the third occasion since the end of the Second World War that our country has been so recognised. I would like to use this occasion to pay tribute to those other great South Africans who have been past recipients of the Peace Prize: Chief Albert J. Luthuli - an outstanding leader of our people and past President of the African National Congress; and that great son of our country who fought so selflessly against the evils of racism during the darkest days of apartheid repression, Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu.

That South Africa has once again been given the Nobel Peace Prize is a tribute to all South Africans. It is an expression of the profound confidence the international community has vested in us that we can collectively address the enormous problems our country faces without recourse to violence and coercion. This is a prize won in the first instance by all those who have, over the decades, struggled so steadfastly for democracy and peace, in the teeth of ruthless and brutal repression.This coveted honour is a challenge to us all as co-equal compatriots to so conduct ourselves that those who seek to foster racial and ethnic hatred and war are isolated and cauterized. In the world that values justice, democracy and peace for all humankind there is no place.

I am keenly aware that the Nobel Peace Prize imposes an even greater obligation on me personally to strive even harder, in the interests of all South Africans, for peace, justice and democracy.

But this is a burden I hope to share with my co-recipient, State President F.W. de Kerk. I extend my heartfelt congratulations to him for this illustrious award and express the hope that we can jointly work towards a future in which the children of South Africa can grow up with the right to a life full of opportunities in a country that recognises, defends and protects the human worth of each and every individual.

There is very little we can give to reciprocate the esteem showered upon us by the world community today. What we can do is to ensure that the negotiation process is successfully concluded, that the agreements reached are adhered to by us all, so that the first democratic elections take place on the 27th of April 1994,as scheduled. The people of South Africa have waited too long for a government elected by all the people. We must not and we dare not fail them. A democratic government, so elected, can and will address the terrible legacy of apartheid and allow every man, woman and child to walk tall, free and proud in the country of their birth.

I dedicate this award to all the courageous people of my country, black and white, who have suffered and endured so much, and pledge that in whatever time remains to me I will spare no effort to bring peace, freedom and justice for all to South Africa.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation