Malala Yousafzai ‘a tenacious advocate for all children’

The 17-year-old was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, sharing it with Kailash Satyarthi from India.

Malala Yousafzai in Birmingham, Britain, September 2013. Picture: EPA.

CAPE TOWN - South African Nobel Peace Prize laureates have delightfully welcomed the 2014 winners, Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi from India.

While Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu says it's a wonderful affirmation of the youth and women, Dave Stewart, of the FW de Klerk Foundation, says they are pleased and welcome the Norwegian Nobel committee's decision.

"We believe that Miss Malala exemplifies the courage, spirit and optimism of a new generation."

At the same time, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to a teenager this year is an honour for all students around the world who go to school in the face of adversity and conflict.

Yousafzai became the youngest person to receive the accolade on Friday.

The 17-year-old gained global acclaim almost two years ago when she was shot in a bus on her way back from school by the Taliban because she was campaigning for girls to get an education.

HRW's Liesl Gerntholz says, "I think she's a tenacious advocate for the rights of all children and particularly for girls to go to school and get a quality education."

Yousafzai will share the R12 million cash prize with Indian children's rights advocate Satyarthi.

The 60-year-old has made his voice heard in the fight against child labour and slavery in India.

Many are pointing out the significance of an Indian Hindu man and a Pakistani Muslim child receiving a joint award.

They say they hope it will create better relations between the two nations.