Monday, September 26, 2011

Death of an Iconic African Activist: Professor Wangari Maathai goes home

The cover of Prof. Maathai's memoir published in 2006
"A Mighty Tree Has Fallen !"
-KBO, Facebook 

These were the profound and apt words expressed by KBO on his Facebook wall as he shared an article on the sad passing of Professor Wangari Maathai. Not only do these words capture her personality but also embody the cause to which she was devoted to for most of her life.

Prof. Maathai was an environmental activist extraordinaire who did not pay lip-service but rather took pro-active concrete steps to effect change. In 1977, through the National Council of Women of Kenya, she started the Green Belt Movement focused on environmental conservation through community mobilization and empowerment. With humble beginnings, a green revolution was started in Africa. Through the Green Belt Movement, over 40 million trees have been planted in Kenya with the organization still going strong today.  

Prof. Maathai was also a staunch women's empowerment advocate and was heavily involved in the pro-democracy movement in Kenyan politics. In addition, she served as both a Member of Parliament and minister. Prof. Maathai was a role model to many and the epitome of the African Icon. She will be missed.


RIP, Wangari Maathai - the1st African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. May there be many who follow in your footsteps!  

A tweet from Camfed (Campaign for Female Education) that could not capture my sentiments more aptly. 


Daixy said...

I'm awfully glad she received recognition for her hard work. All the name calling, abuse and defamation of character...simply because she was a headstrong woman in a chauvinistic world.

RIP Prof Maathai. Gone but not forgotten, your SPIRIT lives on.

Abena Serwaa said...

@Daixy, indeed it is comforting to know what she got recognition for her work. BTW, I had no idea about the issues she had with her estranged husband who demanded she drop his name when they were getting divorced! In the end she apparently added another "a" to her surname. Defiant, headstrong and a great inspiration to the end!

tps360 said...

I saw a "special documentary" about her life on CNN.Amazing!. its amazing how much one can do with so little.

Abena Serwaa said...

@tps360 Indeed....I think she was a perfect example for youth across the globe on the power of perseverance and determination

John Buchanan said...

An amazing woman!

Abena Serwaa said...

@John Buchanan: indeed...a woman in a league of her own.