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R.I.P.: Celebrating The Life & Legacy of WANGARI MAATHAI “we have to shed our fear & give hope to each other”!

Filed under : Africa



News of Wangari Muta Maathai‘s death on Sunday last week, caught me off guard and shook me…she was one of my shero’s…

Oprah, Dr Wangari Maathai & Tom Cruise

Dr. Maathai died of Ovarian Cancer it has been reported. Kenyan news outlets said that she had been treated for ovarian cancer in the past year and that she had been in a hospital for at least a week before she died.

Dr. Maathai became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Award when the Nobel committee honored her in 2004 for her

“holistic approach to sustainable development that embraces democracy, human rights and women’s rights in particular” and for serving “as inspiration for many in the fight for democratic rights”…

Green Belt issued a sombre statement on the passing of its founder:

“Her departure is untimely and a very great loss to all of us who knew her — as a mother, relative, co-worker, colleague, role model, and heroine — or those who admired her determination to make the world a peaceful, healthy, and better place for all of us.”

Wangari Muta Maathai was born on April 1, 1940, in Nyeri, Kenya, in the foothills of Mount Kenya. A star student, she won a scholarship to study biology at Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas. She received her Bachelors’ degree in 1964. She earned a Master of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

She went on to obtain a doctorate in veterinary anatomy at the University of Nairobi, becoming the first woman in East or Central Africa to hold such a degree, according to the Nobel Prize Web site. She also taught at the university as an Associate Professor and was Chairwoman of its veterinary anatomy department in the 1970s.

My heart mourns the passing of this fearless warrior! Her tenacity & courage to stand for truth; she was beaten unconscious by the Kenyan police during a protest one time; are inspirational to me.

Her Green Belt Movement has planted more than 30 million trees in Africa and has helped nearly 900,000 women, according to the United Nations, while inspiring similar efforts in other African countries.

Former Vice President Al Gore, a fellow Peace Prize recipient for his environmental work, said in a statement:

“Wangari overcame incredible obstacles to devote her life to service — service to her children, to her constituents, to the women, and indeed all the people of Kenya — and to the world as a whole.”

Dr. Maathai is survived by three children, Waweru, Wanjira and Muta, and a granddaughter, according to the Green Belt Movement.

I love this: “Wangari Maathai stands in a league with the too-few women who have won the Nobel Peace Prize. She stands in a league with leaders, women and men like Nelson Mandela. She stands with the women of Kenya. She stands with the women of Africa. She stands with her innumerable daughters everywhere.”

I am one of her daughters. Farewell mama!

In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now.

– Dr. Wangari Maathai (1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011)

farai – who has written posts on Farai Today.

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