Nelson Mandela, leader of the African National Congress (ANC), and F.W. de Klerk, president of South Africa, shared the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday.
Mandela spent 27 years in prison as a result of his involvement in procuring civil rights for Black South Africans.
De Klerk has often been accused of being a turncoat by ANC supporters, but he says now that there is "no other alternative but to work together to bring about a democratic South Africa.
"My hands are not dripping with blood," de Klerk said in an interview. "I am using my hands and my mind and my energy and I'm giving everything I have to work for peace."
Meanwhile, ANC supporters celebrated that a white man had been convicted of killing two Blacks and objected to de Klerk and Mandela sharing the prize.
Mandela chose to take a more positive view, saying, "The Nobel Prize is a tribute to all South Africans. It is expression of the profound confidence the international community has vested in us."
Professor of the Practice of Indo-Muslim Languages and Culture Ali S. Asani, a member of the Committee on African Studies, concurred with Mandela's view.
"It is wonderful that these two people received this prize, especially because these two sides had been antagonistic," Asani said. "Their efforts were finally recognized and perhaps this can help allay fears on both sides."
Mandela and de Klerk, who have been working together more often in recent times, hope to stage South Africa's first multi-racial elections in April, 1994.
This story was compiled with the help of wire dispatches.