Our deepest thoughts are with the family of Wangari Maathai, who has died. Wangari Maathai was a Kenyan environmentalist who began a movement to reforest her country by paying poor women a few shillings to plant trees. She then went on to become the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, promoting conservation, women’s rights and transparent government.
The news of Wangari Maathai passing away came as a major shock as she has been a source of inspiration to many people all over the world. Ms Maathai died whilst undergoing cancer treatment in Nairobi. After a prolonged and brave borne struggle with cancer she is finally at rest. Family and loved ones where with Ms Maathai at her time of passing.
In her speech accepting the Nobel prize, Ms Maathai said she hoped her own success would spur other women on to a more active role in the community.
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.
Wangari Maathai was a force of nature, strong in character and able to survive sometimes the harshest of conditions. – Achim Steiner, the executive director of the United Nations’ environmental program
Africa, particularly African women, have lost a champion, a leader, an activist. We’re going to miss her. We’re going to miss the work she’s been doing all these years on the environment, working for women’s rights and women’s participation. – The President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf