Wangari Maathai First African Woman To Win Nobel Peace Prize Dies

Wangari MaathaiImage via Wikipedia
Kenyan Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Laureate and conservation heroine, died today after a long struggle with cancer, aged 71. 

She was the first African woman recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for combining science and social activism.

She was the first environmental campaigner to do so. 
She was also the first woman from East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate, in veterinary anatomy. 

She was the founder of the Green Belt Movement, where over 30 years she mobilized poor women to plant 30 million trees. 

Mrs Maathai was beaten, tear-gassed and whipped as she took to the streets in protests against environmental damage around Nairobi through the 1980s and 1990s.

But as Mr Moi's era ended in 2002, Mrs Maathai was elected to parliament and made assistant minister for environment in President Mwai Kibaki's first government in 2003.

Tributes poured in on morning radio call-in shows in Kenya, on Twitter and on Facebook. 

"Rest in peace Dr Wangari Maathai. A great woman, an inspiration for many women across Africa, a magnificent visionary and embodiment of courage," Jakaya Kikwete, Tanzania's president, said in a Twitter message.

In her speech accepting the Nobel prize, Ms Maathai said she hoped her own success would spur other women on to a more active role in the community.
"I hope it will encourage them to raise their voices and take more space for leadership," she said.

 Passionate video poem tribute given to Wangar Matthai when she was alive by Christa Bell.

More memorable quotes here

The President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, said: 

"Africa, particularly African women, have lost a champion, a leader, an activist. We're going to miss her. We're going to miss the work she's been doing all these years on the environment, working for women's rights and women's participation," she said.
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments: