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South African ex-President FW de Klerk’s Nobel Peace Prize medal stolen

FW de Klerk won the prize alongside Nelson Mandela in 1993 for their efforts to end the apartheid system

The Nobel Peace Prize medal of South Africa’s former President FW de Klerk was stolen from his home in April, his foundation has confirmed to the BBC.

He did not give further details, but local media reported that he was taken during a robbery at his Cape Town home.

Mr De Klerk won the prize alongside Nelson Mandela in 1993 for their efforts to end the apartheid system.

South African media reported police have not made any arrests or recovered the medal.

Speaking to a local news website News24, Mr De Klerk’s widow, Elita, said she returned home from a trip abroad to find the safe in her home “nearly empty”.

“I realized that we were robbed in April of this year. On 5 April, I went to the safe and the safe was open. I had returned from an overseas trip on the fourth, so I remember the dates. Unfortunately, the safe was almost empty,” she said.

“A lot of my jewelery was taken – it is difficult to put a price to it, as the pieces that were taken were given to me over the last 50 years for occasions, plus I had pieces that I inherited from my mother,” she added.

She said she was not hopeful that the stolen items would be recovered.

Alongside Mr Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, Mr De Klerk, who died in 2021, was awarded the prize along with the 18-carat gold medal in 1993.

Mr De Klerk became president in 1989 but handed power to Mr Mandela five years later, marking the end of white-minority rule in South Africa and the beginning of the democratic era.

He died almost exactly a year ago at the age of 85 after being diagnosed with mesothelioma – a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs.

At the current price for 18-carat gold, in weight terms the medal would cost around $7,300 (£6,400), but it is worth far more.

In June, Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov, the co-winner of the prize in 2021, auctioned his medal for $103.5m to raise funds for Ukrainian child refugees.

In 2014, US scientist James Watson’s Nobel medal was auctioned for $4.8m. A year earlier, the medal of British scientist Francis Crick was auctioned for $2.27m.

The two, along with Maurice Wilkins, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962 for discovering the structure of DNA.

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