The Rest

Sep 28, 2011

Why the world needs troublemakers such as Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai, the activist and environmentalist who passed away on Monday morning in Nairobi hospital, is mourned as a hero in her native Kenya, writes Rafiq Copeland from Dadaab.

Wangari Maathai was a troublemaker. The activist and environmentalist who passed away on Monday morning in Nairobi hospital is today mourned as a hero in her native Kenya, but she was not always so popular with the ruling elite. Arrested, persecuted, beaten and reportedly threatened with assassination at various times in her career, Maathai may now become the first woman to be given a state funeral in Kenya.

Maathai was used to being first. She was the first woman in east and central Africa to obtain a PhD — in 1971 — and the first woman professor at the University of Nairobi. When Maathai unexpectedly won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 she became the first African woman to do so. Perhaps more significantly — although less commented on — Wangari Maathai was also the first environmentalist to be awarded the prize.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions

2 comments

Leave a comment

2 thoughts on “Why the world needs troublemakers such as Wangari Maathai

  1. Modus Ponens

    Rest in Peace you wonderful warrior.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details

Sending...