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Who Was Wangari Maathai?

Submitted by on September 27, 2011 – 12:54 pmNo Comment

September 27, 2011

On Sunday, Kenya’s Wangari Maathai died from cancer. Wangari Maathai, a source of inspiration throughout the world, was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Wangari Maathai was a professor of veterinary anatomy, and rose to fame in Kenya as an environmentalist who fought development and deforestation. She founded the Green Belt Movement, which is responsible for planting 30 – 40 million trees in Africa.

While President Danial Arap Moi was in power in Kenya, Professor Maathai was arrested many times and imprisoned. At that time the press vilified her for her fight for sustainable development.

As the first female African Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2004, she became an example to women, hoping to encourage them to have stronger voices within their communities – to be instruments of change.

News of her death has brought condolences from around the world including Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev and the Dalai Lama, amongst many others.

You can find out more about the Movement she started here:


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