AN AFRICAN ICON: Wangari Maathai

Founder of the Green Belt Movement.

Purpose of the Green Belt Movement: advocating for human rights and supporting good governance and peaceful democratic change through the protection of the environment

As a tree sustains man with oxygen, Wangari Maathai sustained the well-being of Kenya with her great works. She was a person who believed in fair governance for the people, a belief that should be promoted  in Africa. She was an icon for Africa., and an inspiration for Kenyans.

Maathai believed that environmental degradation was a root cause for many problems in Kenya. Being a generational thinker,  she believed preserving the environment would be a foundation for positive reforms in Kenya. During her time,  women were marginalized in the Kenyan society by the ruling bodies, and she strived to end this.

Maathai was a shining light,  giving women the chance to be significant and constructive in their society. The Green Belt Movement formed by Maathai allowed women in the rural areas to plant trees to avoid environmental degradation. The diligent women were given a token of appreciation. The token was used for investment. Investment in practical skills that would later help the women play a significant role in their community, and improve their standard of living. Maathai gave the women hope, and set a positive trend in the rural areas.

The Green Belt Movement gave her a voice and a large following. She was recognized internationally for great exploits in conserving the environment through planting trees.
Maathai believed  the way to solve a problem,  is by  figuring out the grass root of the problem.

The Green Belt Movement propelled her voice to the international scene, and she used her following to pressurize the incompetent ruling body in Kenya. Whenever she faced opposition her following gave her support. In 2002, a regime in Kenya that was glittered with oppression came to an end through Maathai’s great works.

In many occurrences the incompetent regime in Kenya showed no respect to the environment, seeking to destroy trees, one time even forcefully trying to relay a golf course as a substitute for trees. If one does not respect his or her own environment, one will find it difficult to respect people. The world understood this, and supported Maathai until she was victorious, as Moi’s reign came to an end.

Maathai’s  life showed that the best way to solve a problem is to lay a strong foundation,  and built on it. She did this through the Green Belt Movement. The movement gave her an effective voice, which she used to overcome a government that oppressed people.
We all have a purpose in life. Maathai believed her purpose was to be a voice for the oppressed. The women who were marginalized in Kenya, and the unjustly silenced politicians who believed in fair governance . She is an icon for Africa, and will always be in the hearts of Kenyans all over the world.

I believe in “Raising underachieving societies,” and the works of Maathai mirrored this ideology.

Maathai Wangari talks about the Green Belt Movement

Marlon Katsigazi

Check Marlon’s Website – The Discovering Africa Network

One thought on “AN AFRICAN ICON: Wangari Maathai

  1. Very insightful appreciation of Wangari Maathai’s great and rare attributes.
    She selected her seeds well and planted them. Now that she is gone, it is our duty to water them as they sprout.

    Marlon, you have made good start. Don’t put down the sprinkler.

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