The Nobel Peace Prize goes to Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk


The 1993 Nobel Peace Prize was shared by two South African men. One was black, the other white. Together they had ended the system of apartheid and made it possible for South Africa to become a democratic country.

The apartheid system
For centuries the country had been ruled by white people, most of them of British and Dutch origin. The whites made up 10% of the population, but owned almost all the land and controlled politics and the economy. Under the apartheid system, black and white South Africans went to separate schools and separate hospitals, lived in different areas, used different beaches, and even sat on different benches in parks and drank from different drinking fountains. A black person could not vote, was not allowed to marry a white person, and could not choose where in the country to live. Naturally, the whites had much better schools, hospitals, housing and other services.

Many Black South Africans fought against apartheid with strikes, riots, sabotage and peaceful protests, and the white minority used brutal force to crush resistance. Nelson Mandela was at the head of the resistance movement, and spent 27 years in prison for his activities. He was released in 1990, when President FW de Klerk saw that apartheid could not continue because of pressure at home and abroad. The two men spent the next three years planning their country’s future, and their work was rewarded by the Nobel Committee in Norway and by the birth of democracy in South Africa.


Find words and phrases in the text which mean the same as these:

  1. ruled by the people
  2. hundreds of years
  3. governed
  4. not the same
  5. of course
  6. resisted
  7. jail
  8. set free

Activities for the links below

1) You will find a short biography of Nelson Mandela on the first website below. Use the information in the article to assign dates to these events and arrange them in chronological order.

  1. Mandela is given a life sentence.
  2. Mandela is set free.
  3. Mandela marries Winnie.
  4. The ANC is made illegal.
  5. Mandela is put in prison.
  6. Mandela resigns as president of South Africa.
  7. Mandela and his first wife are divorced.
  8. The people of South Africa make Mandela their country’s head of state.
  9. Mandela’s life story, written by himself, becomes available..
  10. Mandela comes to Norway to receive a great honour.

2) Go to the second link and read the account of the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, an event which shocked the whole world and drew its attention to the deadly consequences of apartheid. In small groups, make a list of the most important points in the article and combine them into a short report (about 200 words) in words of your own.


Cappelen Damm

Sist oppdatert: 18.08.2009

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