Nobel Square, Cape Town
Did you know?
Nearby the 4 Laureates is the Peace and Democracy sculpture, created by Noria Mabasa.
In your wanderings around the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, you might come across four larger-than-life bronzed gentlemen standing pensively in a row.
They are the central characters of Nobel Square, dedicated to South Africa’s four Nobel Peace Prize laureates: Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela.
These great men all played their part in helping South Africa to democracy after decades of apartheid.
Albert Luthuli, president of the African National Congress (ANC) in 1952, was the first African to win the Nobel Peace Prize. He received his award in December 1961 after being allowed briefly out of South Africa to attend the Nobel ceremony in Oslo.
Throughout much of his political life, Luthuli was arrested, charged and banned from public participation.
'What is important is that we can build a homogeneous South Africa on the basis not of colour but of human values,' – reads the inscription under Luthuli's statue.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, is one of the world’s most beloved leaders. His fame stretches far beyond South Africa’s borders and his words are relevant to the world at large. Known originally for his opposition to the apartheid regime, he later became a symbol of national reconciliation. He still speaks for the oppressed and the poor.
'A person is a person through other people,' reads the Tutu inscription.
FW de Klerk was South Africa’s last president during apartheid. In 1990 he heralded the social and political winds of change in South Africa by releasing Nelson Mandela from prison, unbanning the ANC and its alliance partners, and working with Mandela and others to establish the country’s new Constitution.
'Our new Constitution is a powerful symbol of reconciliation, justice and of the ending of centuries of conflict,' reads the De Klerk inscription.
After 27 years of imprisonment, Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected president. He, with FW de Klerk, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. The following year, following the historic elections of April 27, he took over the reins of government and led the fledgling democracy with pride and grace.
'Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will experience the oppression of one by another,' reads the inscription under the Mandela statue.
The sculptor finally chosen to create the historic figures was Claudette Schreuders, a Cape Town artist. She was selected by a panel after a final grouping of 10 artists was asked to present their concepts for Nobel Square.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
V&A Waterfront head office
Tel: +27 (0)21 408 7600
How to get here
Nobel Square is situated in the V&A Waterfront precinct of Cape Town, near the V&A Hotel and the Two Oceans Aquarium.
Best time to visit
The V&A Waterfront is an all-weather destination, but it’s advisable to pick a sunny day so you can enjoy some of the outdoor features of the area.
Around the area
Visit the Two Oceans Aquarium nearby – it’s one of the finest, most informative aquariums in Africa.
Tours to do
Take the Cape Town ‘hop-on, hop-off’ City Sightseeing bus tour – it’s the easiest way to view the Mother City.
Once you’re in the V&A Waterfront area, all the sights are within walking distance.
What will it cost
Access to Nobel Square is free of charge.
Length of stay
Nobel Square is a good place to have your take-away lunch – or you can just spare a few minutes and admire the statues and read the inscriptions.
Where to stay
The V&A Waterfront area has a number of fine hotels – see the listed websites.
What to eat
There are some very good seafood restaurants at the V&A Waterfront.
The V&A Waterfront has a busy schedule of events throughout the year – check the listed website for details.
Buy some excellent crafts at the Red Shed Craft Workshop at the V&A Waterfront.