“It is the little things citizens do. That’s what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees.”
Wangari Maathai – Kenya.
Born: April 1, 1940, Tetu Division, Nyeri District.
Died: September 25, 2011, Nairobi, Kenya.
She was a Kenyan Environmental and Political Activist. She is well known for her focus on Reforestation & women’s rights. Being the first woman in East & Central Africa to have a P.H.D and also the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1977, she founded the Green Belt Movement which focused on protecting the environment and improving communities. But the movement in the end faced much opposition. From being viewed by the Kenyan Government as a threat as a result of their pro-democracy views. To the extent of being labeled as a “crazy woman” because of her opposition to the construction project of a huge 60-story in Uhuru Park. At the moment, President Daniel Moi being the head of state suggested that she should respect men and be quiet. Because of her struggle, this is a typical sexist comment she has been subjected to throughout her life.
Despite all hurdles, her protest was fruitful as the investors through the government response canceled the intended project. Nevertheless, she continued to be active in Politics and Environmental activism. Also, petitioning & protesting against the Kenyan Government’s plan to privatize large areas of public land in the Karura forest. Her protest led her to be injured and arrested several times, but she managed to gain significant national & international support.