[QODLink]
Africa
Kenyan Nobel laureate Maathai dies
Africa's first women Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai dies in Nairobi while receiving cancer treatment, aged 71.
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2011 06:28
 Wangari Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, which has planted 20 to 30 million trees in Africa [Reuters]

Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai has died in Nairobi while undergoing cancer treatment at the age of 71.

Maathai was the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for promoting conservation, women's rights and transparent government.

She was the founder of the environmental group Green Belt Movement, and had served as a member of parliament in 2002.

The organisation also campaigned on education, nutrition and other issues important to women.

"It is with great sadness that the family of Professor Wangari Maathai announces her passing away on 25 September, 2011, at the Nairobi Hospital, after a prolonged and bravely borne struggle with cancer," the Green Belt Movement said in a statement.

Maathai, who was also a veterinary anatomy professor, rose to international fame for campaigns against
government-backed forest clearances in Kenya in the late 1980s and 1990s.

She branded the clearances a political ploy that caused irreversible environmental damage.

The courts blocked her suits and Green Belt lawyers complained that their cases were dismissed on technical grounds or their files were mysteriously lost.

Al Jazeera's  Peter Greste reporting from Nairobi said "people in Kenya will remember Wangari Maathai for her courage and outspokeness regardless of the consequences."

In her speech accepting the Nobel prize, Maathai said she hoped her own success would spur other women on to a more active role in the community.

"I hope it will encourage them to raise their voices and take more space for leadership," said Maathai.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.