Wangari Maathai (1940–2011)
The first woman in East and Central Africa to gain a PhD (in Biology), Professor Wangari Maathai was the most active figure in the African environmentalist movement over the past three decades.
In 1977, she founded the Green Belt Movement, a tree planting programme spanning across Kenya that has to date planted 30 million trees, and thereafter founded similar movements in countries across Africa including Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, proving instrumental in reduction of soil erosion and groundwater loss across Africa.
Maathai was elected to Kenya’s national parliament with a 98% majority in 2002, and divided her time between lecturing, political work, and serving as Assistant Minister for Environment.
She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, the first environmentalist to have received the award.
During Norfolk BHM 2010, enjoy some tasty Kenyan food provided by TOTEM African Bar/Restaurant, and watch the award-winning 2008 documentary film about Wangari’s life, Taking Root – The Vision of Wangari Maathai.