Setting aside their differences for a day, a beaming Nelson Mandela and Frederik W. de Klerk accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday and promised to keep working toward a democratic South Africa.
The black African National Congress leader and the white president who freed him from prison received long, enthusiastic applause from an audience of 2,000 people when they were presented with their gold medals and diplomas.
“We are political opponents,” De Klerk said in his Nobel lecture. “We disagree strongly on key issues and we will soon fight a strenuous election campaign against one another. But we will do so, I believe, in the frame of mind and within the framework of peace that has already been established.”
The two rivals also received the equivalent of $790,000. But Mandela said the award cannot be measured in money.
“It will and must be measured by the happiness and welfare of the children, at once the most vulnerable citizens in any society and the greatest of our treasures,” he said.