Twenty-five years after awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to intensity prisoner Carl von Ossietzky, the Nobel Committee chose a prize-winner who was being persecuted by his own authorities for the second time.
Albert Lutuli, a South African chief, teacher, and trade unionist, was elected president of the liberation movement African National Congress (ANC) in 1952. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent philosophy, he became the spokesman for a civil disobedience campaign against South Africa’s racial segregation policy, leading several protests and strikes against the white minority government. Lutuli, along with other adversaries of racial segregation, was arrested and victimized, and the ANC was banned following the mass slaughter of 69 black protestors in Sharpeville in 1960.
The selection of Lutuli indicated that the Nobel Committee had prioritized human rights and had joined the international anti-apartheid movement. This was made a step further when Lutuli’s countryman, Bishop Desmond Tutu, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.