RIP Wangari Maathai

By: Nikki W.

Nobel-prize winner Wangari Maathai has died. She was the founder of the Green Belt Movement, which has planted an estimated 45 million trees around Kenya since 1977. Today’s message on their site:

It is with great sadness that the family of Professor Wangari Maathai announces her passing away on 25th September, 2011, at the Nairobi Hospital, after a prolonged and bravely borne struggle with cancer. Her loved ones were with her at the time.

Professor Maathai’s departure is untimely and a very great loss to all who knew her – as a mother, relative, co-worker, colleague, role model, and heroine; or who admired her determination to make the world a more peaceful, healthier, and better place.

This is my favorite part of the BBC story on her death

Opposing a major government-backed development in Nairobi, she was labelled a “crazy woman”; it was suggested that she should behave like a good African woman and do as she was told.

Her former husband made similar comments when suing for divorce: she was strong-willed, and could not be controlled.

It is my fervent wish that when I die, someone takes care to comment that I could not be controlled. I think it’s the mark of a revolutionary woman.


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