Wole Soyinka, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Nelson Mandela and 7 Other Africans that Received the Nobel Prize

Wole Soyinka, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Nelson Mandela and 7 Other Africans that Received the Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize is an international prize awarded annually since 1901 for achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace.

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The prize has been awarded 597 times to 950 people and organisations. Africa is home to 27 recipients of this prestigious award.

YEN.com.gh presents 10 out of the 27 Africans that have received the Nobel Prize.

1. Wole Soyinka

Wole Soyinka is a Nigerian playwright, poet, essayist, and novelist, who won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, becoming the first Black African to win in this category, Aljazeera reports.

Wole Soyinka is the author of many books which include The Interpreters, Season of Anomy, The Trials of Brother Jero, Samarkand and Other Markets I Have Known, amongst others.

Wole Soyinka
Wole Soyinka is a renowned writer and first Black African to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Photo credit: Monica Schipper
Source: Getty Images

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2. Nelson Mandela

South Africa's first black president Nelson Mandela was jointly awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize for Peace for his work in ending the country's apartheid system.

Mandela, who served as president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, shared the prize with Frederik Willem de Klerk, South Africa’s last white president whose negotiations with Mandela in the early 1990s helped end apartheid.

Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, and died on December 5, 2013.

Nelson Mandela
Nelson was the first Black president of South Africa. Photo credit: Hamish Blair/Liaison
Source: Getty Images

3. Max Theiler

Max Theiler, a South African-born US microbiologist, was the first White African to win the Nobel Prize.

The microbiologist won the 1951 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for developing a vaccine against yellow fever.

He succeeded in passing the virus to mice, which later allowed him to obtain a variant that became a human vaccine.

Theiler, who was born in Pretoria in 1899, died in 1972 in New Haven, US.

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Max Theiler
Max Theiler won the Nobel Prize in 1951. Photo credit: Bettmann/Contributor
Source: Getty Images

4. Albert Camus

Algerian-born French author Albert Camus was the first White African to win a Nobel Prize in Literature.

Camus, who was born on November 7, 1913, won the 1957 Nobel Prize in Literature. His most famous novels include The Stranger, The Plague, and The Fall.

He died on January 4, 1960.

Albert Camus
Albert Camus was the author of The Stranger. Photo credit: Bettmann/Contributor
Source: Getty Images

5. Albert Luthuli

Albert Luthuli of South Africa was the first Black African to win a Nobel Prize. He was awarded the 1960 Nobel Prize for Peace.

Luthuli was recognised for his role in the non-violent struggle against apartheid.

He was born in 1898 and died on July 21, 1967.

Albert Luthuli
Albert Luthuli was the first Black African to win the Nobel Prize. Photo credit: AFP
Source: Getty Images

6. Nadine Gordimer

South African author Nadine Gordimer received the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature. She was the first White African woman to win a Nobel Prize

She was born on November 20, 1923, and died on July 13, 2014.

Nadine Gordimer
Nadine Gordimer is the first White African woman to win the Nobel Prize. Photo credit: Sophie Bassouls
Source: Getty Images

7. Wangari Maathai

Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize for Peace, becoming the first Black African woman to win the prestigious award.

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She won the prize “for her tireless contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace”.

Maathai was born on April 1, 1940, and died on September 25, 2011.

Wangari Maathai
Wangari Maathai won the Nobel Prize in 2004, becoming the first Black African to be so honoured. Photo credit: Wendy Stone/Corbis
Source: Getty Images

8. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

The first female head of state in Africa and ex-president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, won the Nobel Prize in 2011 for her “non-violent struggle for the safety of women”, along with her compatriot Leymah Gbowee and Yemen’s Karman.

She was born on October 29, 1938.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the first female head of state in Africa. Photo credit: TF-Images
Source: Getty Images

9. Leymah Gbowee

Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee was one of three recipients, along with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Yemeni journalist and activist Tawakkul Karman, of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Peace.

Gbowee was given the prize at the age of 39. Among her accomplishments was mobilising Liberian women from “across ethnic and religious dividing lines” to help end Liberia’s brutal civil war in 2003.

Leymah Gbowee
Leymah Gbowee was 39 when she won the Nobel Prize. Photo credit: Jamie McCarthy
Source: Getty Images

10. Abdulrazak Gurnah

Abdulrazak Gurnah is a Tanzanian novelist who was awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature for his “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism”, The Guardian reports.

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The Nobel laureate, who was born in the Sultanate of Zanzibar on December 20, 1948, moved to the United Kingdom in the 1960s as a refugee during the Zanzibar Revolution.

Abdulrazak Gurnah
Abdulrazak Gurnah won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature. Photo credit: Steve Parsons/PA
Source: Getty Images

Wole Soyinka is not dead

In other news, Lola Shoneyin, a prominent Nigerian literary figure and daughter-in-law to Professor Wole Soyinka, has debunked the rumoured death of the Nobel laureate.

According to Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), a fake Twitter announced the purported death of the Nigerian literary icon and 1986 Nobel Prize winner.

The Twitter account was impersonating Professor Abdulrazak Gurnah, the winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature, FIJ discovered.

Source: Yen

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