An African icon is no more : Wangari Maathai, 71, first African woman Nobel laureate has died.
Maathai founded the GREEN BELT MOVEMENT and is believed to have pushed for the planting of about 30 million trees in Africa.
But, she will be in good company of another great African woman — the late “Mama Africa” — Miriam Makeba. These two give a good name to womanhood in Africa, and stood for all things beautiful about our mothers and sisters.
Maathai showed incredible courage, and the likes of Arap Moi did not scare her. She stood firm and President Moi imprisoned her twice for her beliefs and courage. She was tear-gassed during a protest against President Kibaki increasing the number of ministers in the cabinet when the country could ill-afford providing basic necessities to common folk.
The empty heads in Nairobi referred to her as “yule mwanamke” – that woman. She was not deterred. The woman was perspicacious. She was insouciant.
Rest in peace, African sister. Your deeds will always inspire African women, one and all.