1. Education

Quotes by Wangari Maathai

On colonialism, politics, and independence.

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On colonialism:

When the British came they introduced the concept of title deeds for land, which they insisted be in the name of the head of the household. That was always the man ... That undermined the traditional setting whereby land belongs to the family. This reform stopped women having legal right to the land ... When the cash came in, it went into a bank account held by the man, even though it was women and children who did the work in the fields. Women were completely disenfranchised.
From the article “Planting the future”, The Guardian, 16 February 2007.

In Kenya, before the British arrived, animals, especially goats, were the main form of exchange. The life of a man was worth about 30 goats. When the British decided to collect revenue they did not want to be paid in goats.
From the article “This Much I Know”, The Observer Magazine, 8 June 2008.

When the British arrived, they started cutting down indigenous forests and replacing them with monocultural forests, such as pines and eucalyptus trees, which were quick growing and so would supply material for telephone poles and housing.
From the article “Planting the future”, The Guardian, 16 February 2007.

On politics:

Entire communities also come to understand that while it is necessary to hold their governments accountable, it is equally important that in their own relationships with each other, they exemplify the leadership values they wish to see in their own leaders, namely justice, integrity and trust.
From Wangari Maathai's Nobel Lecture, delivered in Oslo, 10 December 2004.

When I became a member of parliament, I discovered fighting corruption in government circles, fighting dishonesty and trying to promoe fairness is often not appreciated by those who benefit from the corrupt practices.
From the article “This Much I Know”, The Observer Magazine, 8 June 2008.

Although initially the Green Belt Movement's tree planting activities did not address issues of democracy and peace, it soon became clear that responsible governance of the environment was impossible without democratic space. Therefore, the tree became a symbol for the democratic struggle in Kenya.
From Wangari Maathai's Nobel Lecture, delivered in Oslo, 10 December 2004.

I got into politics because I wanted to show that we don't need to be thieves. There must be another way of doing politics in my country.
From the article “Planting the future”, The Guardian, 16 February 2007.

[T]he state of any county's environment is a reflection of the kind of governance in place, and without good governance there can be no peace.
From Wangari Maathai's Nobel Lecture, delivered in Oslo, 10 December 2004.

On independence:

[W]ithout the British, [Kenya] would not have had the corruption and greed that accompanied the first 30 years of independence.
From the article “Planting the future”, The Guardian, 16 February 2007.

The time I was [in America] coincided with Martin Luther King's campaigning. When it became clear Kenya was going to become independent, King's words were resonant for me: 'Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
From the article “Planting the future”, The Guardian, 16 February 2007.



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