Remembering Nobel Prize Winner Wangari Maathai

Listen to two previous Talk of the Nation interviews with Wangari Maathai.

Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, died of cancer Sunday at the age of 71. Maathai inspired a generation of women and founded Kenya's Green Belt Movement, which targets deforestation, poverty and the status of women.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

NEAL CONAN, host: Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, died yesterday at the age of 71. After a long struggle with cancer, she died at a hospital in Nairobi. After leaving her home in rural Kenya to study in America, she returned to serve in government and in parliament. She's perhaps best known as the founder of Kenya's Green Belt Movement, which targets deforestation, poverty and the status of women. She was kind enough to join us a couple of times on this program, most recently in 2009 to discuss her book, "The Challenge for Africa."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED INTERVIEW)

WANGARI MAATHAI: We cannot change history, but we can manage what we have. And one way is to understand that as diverse as we are in the superficial state - which I call the micro-nation - it's up to us now to negotiate with each other as politicians to understand how we can move these micro-nationalities as a united people, and not to use these micro-nationalities as blocks with which we play politics. And we see that time and time again, people wanting to get in power and using their micro-nationality as an excuse, and especially if that micro-nationality has a huge number. This is really failure of the African leadership, and I'm urging that it is us, the Africans, who have to deal with that and persuade our people to work together so that we can move forward instead of engaging in petty wars that take us nowhere.

CONAN: Nobel Peace Prize-winner Wangari Maathai, who died yesterday at the age of 71. If you'd like, you can hear more of our conversations with her on our website. Go to npr.org and click on TALK OF THE NATION.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.