I avoid writing about personalities because I believe it is judgmental to claim to know what makes a person tick and to try to condense a persons actions, beliefs, and values into a couple of paragraphs. I don’t think its fair unless its a factual piece so I do not do it. Prof. Wangari Muta Maathai definetely does not deserve my criticisms and/or judgement but such an extraordinary woman should be celebrated and this is how I will do it in digitalia.
Here was among the first breed of women in post colonial Kenya to grow balls and display them to the original bearers. It is something for a woman to be the first PHD holder in the region, get divorced and wage a war on land grabbing and forest conservation. Many parallels can be drawn between her and the recently deceased Steve Jobs. Both dedicated their lives to causes close to their hearts and as Steve jobs once explained, we spend most of our lives at work, so we might as well do something we love and that will make a difference. I believe heroes give up their lives for the good of many and this sacrifice is most felt by the family and close friends. Wangari is no exception seeing as the brutality metted on her by previous regimes must have taken a toll on the family but like any storm, it blew over.
Many of our so called leaders tread the well beaten path. Marry into a good family, got to church on Sunday, and smile for cameras. few decide to fight for something and stick to it for years. possibly leaders and politicians are not the same thing since what I have largely described are politicians. Maybe Wangari maathai was a leader just not one with official powers.
As Kate Getao signs off on her column in the Saturday Nation magazine, Plant a tree this Week.