Today we hear the terribly sad news of Wangari Maathai’s passing. For all who knew Wangari, close up or through her works and actions, can affirm that she was a true champion for grassroots, rural, impoverished, strong, determined, courageous women. I bring you the news, for those that haven’t heard, with reflections and plans to honor her down the line with a bit more time. I had the privilege and true honor to meet and work with Wangari the years after I joined WEDO in 1997, so it’s a personal mourning. As we plan to honor her here in NY, let us also think of how we as the Feminist Task Force should honor her work, her legacy and her vision. The thought that comes to mind is to dedicate the Women’s Tribunals on Gender and Climate Justice to her.
I am pasting some news that’s arrived already in my box this morning, one of which is from Adelaide—thank you, Adelaide.
Dear Lysa, GCAP Co-Chairs, Global Council Members, Ambassadors and AGC,
Today is a sad day for Africa and for humanity, as we mourn the loss of our fallen champion, environmentalist, human rights activitist, advocate and Nobel Peace Prize Winner 2007, Wangari Mathai. She epitomised courage, grace, knowledge, hands on action and hope. She fought against the establishment to remove the structural barriers that were militating against change and was able to mobilise ordinary women to stand up and take action against the enemies of the earth and of humanity.
I listened to one of her interviews when she said that the “spirit is willing but that the body was getting tired.” I did not know then that she was struggling with cancer. This disease is causing so much of havoc in our continent and has now snatched away one of our dearest and best.
I extend my heartfelt sympathy to our Kenyan colleagues, the people of Kenya, particularly the members of the Green Belt movement at the national level and worldwide, to women the world over and to all environmentalists and peace lovers. May her soul rest in perfect peace, Amen!. May the earth that she fought so hard and so gallantly to protect rest gently upon her. Amen!.
HERMANAS Y HERMANOS…. THIS IS INDEED A SAD STORY FOR OUR DEAR FRIEND HAS NOW NOT WITH US HERE IND EAR EARTH ANYMORE.. YET, HER SPIRIT, HER WORK, HER WISDOM AND CALL ARE WITH US, FOR US TO LIVE BY AND TO RESPOND… SHE RESTS AND IS IN ACCOMPANIMENT TO US.. LET US NOT LOOSE OUR STEP.. LOVE..MARTA
Oh Adelaide, what a sad shock this is for me, I did not know Wangari was ill. My heartful condolences to all who knew het and (like me) were inpsired by her…
Ouch reading these news is like a razing blade going through a heart, it’s a truly a dark day for Africa, I didn’t know Wangari either but I celebrated her award as the first African women to be given Nobel Peace Prize. My sincere condolences to her family, Kenyan community.
What a loss and I will re-read her autobiography.
Ms Phelisa Nkomo
featured image by Africa Renewal under a creative commons license.