“I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says, “There, she is gone.” “Gone where?” Gone from my sight. That it all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says, “There, she is gone!” there are other eyes watching her coming, and there are other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!” …Henry van Dyke
A woman dedicated to her work who made Kenians proud to be Kenyans for trying to save the world in their own little way has past.
…Wangari asanti sana kwa kazi yako..
Been treated for ovarian cancer in the past year and been in a hospital for at least a week before she died a courageous women had grown as a tree.
Dr. Maathai toured the world, speaking out against environmental degradation and poverty, which she said early on were intimately connected. But she never lost focus on her native Kenya. She was a thorn in the side of Kenya’s previous president, Daniel arap Moi, whose government labeled the Green Belt Movement “subversive” during the 1980s.
“Wangari Maathai was known to speak truth to power,” said John Githongo, an anticorruption campaigner in Kenya who was forced into exile for years for his own outspoken views. “She blazed a trail in whatever she did, whether it was in the environment, politics, whatever.”
She was not only an example for Kenya. Her ideas are to be taken serious for the whole world. She opened the consciousnesses on the inseparable link between the life of the Humanity, the respect for the dignity of the man and the environmental protection. She had to sacrifice her family life and the life of the cream (the elite of nation) which she would have been able to have, to be near the poorest.
May all the elites of the whole world take example on her, may they get up to bring finally to their Mother Africa the best of themselves.
Wangari Maathai (1940-2011) has chalked up many firsts in her 70 years. There was the time she became the first Kenyan woman to earn a doctorate, Master of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh (1966) after she had already got a degree in Biological Sciences from Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas (1964). Professor Maathai pursued doctoral studies in Germany and the University of Nairobi, obtaining a Ph.D. (1971) from the University of Nairobi where she also taught veterinary anatomy. She became chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and an associate professor in 1976 and 1977 respectively. In both cases, she was the first woman to attain those positions in the region.
Time when she planted her first tree nursery went by and probably there where many who thought this was a littlebit of a crazy woman.People laughed at her idea of having a community-based tree planting. But time made that her ideas proofed to be worthy and to be taken notice of. So there was the time she became the first African woman to win the Nobel peace prize.
Maathai continued to develop her idea into a broad-based grassroots organization whose main focus is poverty reduction and environmental conservation through tree planting. With the organization which became known as the Green Belt Movement Professor Maathai has assisted women in planting more than 40 million trees on community lands including farms, schools and church compounds.
In 1986 the Green Belt Movement (GBM) established a Pan African Green Belt Network that has exposed many leaders of other African countries to its unique approach. Some of these individuals have established similar tree planting initiatives in their own countries using the methods taught to improve their efforts. Countries that have successfully launched such initiatives in Africa include Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and others.
But it did not always went smooth. There was also the first time she was beaten up; the first time she was jailed; the first time she was disqualified from running for political office, and the first time her environmental work was dismissed as that of a “mad divorcee”.
Today Professor Maathai is internationally recognized for her persistent struggle for democracy, human rights and environmental conservation.
Maathai is survived by three children, Waweru, Wanjira and Muta, and a granddaughter, Ruth Wangari.
Please do find the obituary article of the Financial Times:
- Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai dies Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, Kenyan environmental activist and human rights campaigner, has died of cancer aged 71
- Wangari Maathai: Africa’s green star
her ambition was considered suspicious for someone of her gender.
- Summary Biography of Professor Wangari Maatha
- The Green Belt Movement
with her two divisions. Green Belt Movement Kenya and Green Belt Movement International.
- Climate Change
“We have a responsibility to protect the rights of generations, of all species, that cannot speak for themselves today. The global challenge of climate change requires that we ask no less of our leaders, or ourselves.” Prof Wangari Maathai
- Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai dies (cbc.ca)
The Nelson Mandela Foundation expressed sadness over Maathai’s death. The foundation hosted Maathai in 2005, when she headlined the foundation’s annual lecture.”We need people who love Africa so much that they want to protect her from destructive processes,” she said in her address.
“There are simple actions we can take. Start by planting 10 trees we each need to absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale.”
- Wangari Maathai, first African woman to win Nobel Peace Prize, dies (theglobeandmail.com)
A long time friend and fellow professor at the University of Nairobi, Vertistine Mbaya said that Ms. Maathai showed the world how important it is to have and demonstrate courage.“The values she had for justice and civil liberties and what she believed were the obligations of civil society and government,” Ms. Mbaya said. “She also demonstrated the importance of recognizing the contributions that women can make and allowing them the open space to do so.”
- Carl Pope: Losing a Friend (huffingtonpost.com)
- Losing a Friend (sierraclub.typepad.com)
- Farewell Wangari Maathai, you were a global inspiration – and my heroine | Joseph Kabiru (guardian.co.uk)
Wangari Maathai was bitterly opposed to the shamba system. She argued that allowing food production within the forest was slowly damaging the centuries-old eco-system, no matter how many new trees were planted.
- Kenya: Nobel Price Winner, Wangari Maathai is Dead (ghostinfos.com)
- Wangari Maathai, RIP (aleksandreia.wordpress.com)
H. M. Stuart Aleksandria who likes to converge to congregate and contend, mingle and collide, endure and fade away, the human condition writ large and small with many pens, brings some reactions together, because “It is very hard to come to a rational opinion on any single subject: one does not think deeply enough or long enough; one has insufficient data, one makes up one’s mind much to soon. Some feel they ought to have an opinion about this or that and go in search of one, and find one, from a sense of duty..”
- ‘I Will Be a Hummingbird’ – RIP Nobel Winner Wangari Maathai (thejoyvictory.com)
- Kenya mourns Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai (independent.co.uk)
Her quest to see fewer trees felled and more planted saw her face off against Kenya’s powerful elite. At least three times during her activist years she was physically attacked, including being clubbed unconscious by police during a hunger strike in 1992.
- Kenyan Nobel Laureate Maathai Dies (time.com)
Decades on, Maathai, the first woman in East Africa to earn a Ph.D., began noticing that the seasons were becoming less dependable and that her country’s vegetation was fast disappearing.
Heroes of the Environment
Why Obama Deserves the Prize: Wangari Maathai and Muhammad Yunus
- Rest In Peace Nobel Laureate Professor Wangari Mathaai (ladyenews.wordpress.com)
Her former husband, whom she divorced in the 1980s, was said to have remarked that Maathai was “too educated, too strong, too successful, too stubborn and too hard to control”.
- Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai dies (edition.cnn.com)
World mourns passing of ‘true African heroine’
- You: Wangari Maathai, first African woman to win Nobel Peace Prize, dies after fight with cancer (washingtonpost.com)
“Many said, ‘She is just planting trees.’ But that was important, not only from an environmental perspective, to stop the desert from spreading, but also as a way to activate women and fight the Daniel arap Moi regime,” said Geir Lundestad, director of the Nobel Institute, which awarded Maathai the peace prize in 2004.
- Honoring Wangari Maathai (ted.com)
- Dr. Wangari Maathai: “As For Me, I’ve Made the Choice!” (global-endeavors.com)
- Adieu, Earth Mother, Wangari (edmortimer.wordpress.com)
the world has lost an amazing champion. Wangari was, perhaps, the first powerful environmental voice for the Global South, a voice that fundamentally made environmentalism truly planet-wide.
Een voorvechtster verloren.
- Plant een boom, red de mens
Postuum Wangari Maathai, Afrika’s beroemdste vrouw
Maathai was zeker meer dan een milieuactiviste. Sociaal activisme was in haar ogen minstens zo belangrijk. ‘Als je je serieus in het milieu verdiept, merk je dat alles met alles samenhangt: mensenrechten, vrouwenrechten, milieurechten, kinderrechten, de rechten van alles en iedereen’, zei ze ooit.
‘De vernietiging van het milieu is een probleem dat we al vele decennia kennen, spijtig genoeg hebben regeringen het nooit ernstig genomen. We zien mensen en dieren nu sterven, maar de oorzaken daarvan dateren niet van gisteren. Al jaren is er nauwelijks regen gevallen, regeringen wisten wat er stond te gebeuren, maar ze hebben hun bevolking in de steek gelaten. Pas toen de internationale camera’s naar het gebied trokken en de beelden van stervende mensen in The New York Times, The Washington Post en The Guardian verschenen, zijn ze wakker geschoten.’
- Maathai was ware Afrikaanse heldin
UNEP, de milieuorganisatie van de Verenigde Naties, sprak van „een groot verlies”. Ook bracht UNEP in herinnering dat Maathai de inspirator was van de Miljard Bomen Campagne, die in 2006 begon. Duizenden mensen over de hele wereld hebben sindsdien meer dan 11 miljard bomen geplant als onderdeel van de campagne, aldus UNEP.
- Video De Keniase milieu-activiste en Nobelprijswinnares Wangari Maathai is overleden. Ze werd bekend door haar strijd tegen de ontbossing in Afrika.
- ‘Vrijwel niemand wist dat ze ziek was’ Audio De Keniaanse milieu-activiste en politica Wangari Muta Maathai is op 71-jarige leeftijd overleden….