Wangari Maathai: Visionary, Environmental Leader, Political Activist

Wangari Maathai: Visionary, Environmental Leader, Political Activist

by Namulundah Florence




Nobel Peace Prize laureate, fighter for democratic space, founder of the Green Belt Movement, and inspiration for women and grassroots activists throughout the world, the environmentalist Wangari Maathai (1940–2011) was a complex and multifaceted figure. In this book, fellow Kenyan Namulundah Florence offers an expansive examination of Maathai’s role as a public figure, educator inside and beyond the academy, symbol of resistance to oppression, and very visible woman in a patriarchal society. Examining Maathai through the lens of feminist theory, Florence unpacks the social and political background of Maathai’s life and work and places her within the context of women’s struggles in Africa for self-determination and access to education and political power. In so doing, Florence reveals the complexities and many dimensions of this fascinating and extraordinary voice for women in Africa and beyond.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590564516
Publisher: Lantern Publishing & Media
Publication date: 10/14/2014
Pages: 268
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xiii

Part I Kenyan Roots 1

1 Colonialism 3

2 Urbanization and Migration 7

3 Cultural Traditions 15

Socialization 15

Initiation 17

Contraception and Marriage 22

Polygamy 26

Gender Roles 28

4 Religion 36

5 Storytelling 42

Part II The Educator 47

6 Primary and Secondary Education 49

Primary 53

Secondary 56

7 College and Graduate Studies 59

College 66

Graduate School 72

8 Achievements 75

Part III The Environmentalist 87

9 The Green Belt Movement 89

Origins 93

Foresters Without Diplomas 98

Grassroots Revolution 109

10 Uhuru Park 114

11 Anti-deforestation Campaigns 121

12 Global Influence 125

Part IV The Politician 133

13 Political Beginnings 135

Marriage and Divorce 148

14 The Multiparty System 157

Freedom Corner Hunger Strike 161

Ethnic Rhetoric 164

15 Political Career 173

16 Political Influence 179

Women's Agency 179

National Debt 183

International Diplomacy 186

Part V The Laureate and Her Legacy 191

17 The Nobel and Controversy 193


Impact of the Prize 198

18 The Legacy 200

Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies 206

Role Model for the Future 208

Appendices 213

1 Speech by Cora Weiss on the African American Students Foundation and the Airlift (1959-1963) 215

2 Keynote Address by Wangari Maathai on Forests for People, Livelihoods and Poverty Eradication 228

3 Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech by Wangari Maathai 231

4 Tribute by FLE. Mr. Macharia Kamau, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations, in Honour of Prof. Wangari Muta Maathai 239

Works Cited and Bibliography 241

Index 261

About the Publisher 270

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