by Seyi Lawal
Africa’s first female Nobel Peace Prize winner, Wangari Maathai is dead. The Kenyan environmental activist died of cancer Yesterday 25 September 2011 at age 71.
“It is with great sadness that the family of Professor Wangari Maathai announces her passing away on 25th September 2011 at the Nairobi hospital after a prolonged and bravely borne struggle with cancer,” AFP quotes a statement issued by Green Belt Movement, which she founded in 1977.
Maathai is also recognized for her role in the struggle against dictatorial regime in Kenya. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, and served the Kenyan government as an Environmental Assistant Minister between 2003 and 2005. Her Green Belt Movement has been credited for planting over 40 million trees across Africa.
“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,” the Green Belt Movement’s statement continued.