The Man Who Mends Women: The remarkable story of Dr Denis Mukwege, first Congolese to win Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel peace prize joint winner Denis Mukwege on finding hope in the horror of war – archive video
London, October 6, 2018 (AltAfrica)-Renowned Congolese gynaecologist and surgeon Dr Denis Mukwege has been named as joint winner of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize with Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.
Mukwege, popularly known as the ‘Rape Surgeon’, becomes the 23rd African and the first Congolese to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize which was last awarded to Africans in 2011; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia.
“Denis Mukwege’s basic principle is that ‘justice is everyone’s business’. The 2018 Peace Laureate is the foremost, most unifying symbol, both nationally and internationally, of the struggle to end sexual violence in war and armed conflicts,” says the Nobel Committee after the announcement on Friday, October 5, 2018.
63-year-old Mukwege has helped thousands of women and girls who have been victims of rape and sexual abuse at the hands of rebel forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the beginning of the civil war in the early 90s.
He founded the Panzi Hospital in the South Kivu province in 1999 to provide free and comprehensive care for female victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence during the conflict.
Mukwege will receive a citation and an 18-carat gold medal that bears the face of the founder Alfred Nobel at an award ceremony in December. The prize for the joint winners includes SEK 9,000,000 ($1,110,000) which will be paid next year.
Mukwege has received scores of honours including Europe’s top human rights prize – Sakharov Prize – and three nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize for his service and fight against sexual violence. He was also named by TIME magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2016.
His hospital treats over 46,000 girls and women with gynaecological injuries, about half of them, victims of sexual violence.
Mukwege has been very vocal in the DRC where he called for a change in the country’s governance system. This he re-emphasised during a speech at the United Nations in 2012 where he condemned the government’s passive response to the violence against women.
Despite the numerous support he gained from the public for his vociferous nature. He narrowly escaped assassination in 2012 that claimed the life of his guard who took the bullet in his place.
Mukwege went into exile in Europe but later returned to a rousing welcome the following year to help his struggling hospital to stay open.
The life of the “rape surgeon”, as he is popularly called, has been documented in the film, “The Man Who Mends Women”, and a book.
“To the survivors from all over the world, I would like to tell you that through this prize, the world is listening to you and refusing to remain indifferent. The world refuses to sit idly in the face of your suffering.”