Cheerio Mama ~ By MUKAMI Nyaga

The Late Prof. Wangari Maathai

The pain is too much and unbearable to lose you Mama. There is a cry everywhere, from mankind to the wild animals, trees to the rivers. All of us are mourning your death, because you gave the trees a chance to stand still and be proud, the streams and the rivers to flow gently down the cliff. Child of the universe, no words can be enough and exact to describe you. You are a rare jewel in this world. Your death was met with outpouring grief and sympathy in most of the powerful people and the offices; the Obama’s, the  Annan’s, the  Clinton’s, the Mandela’s, the Tutu’s, the Sarkozy’s, the Moon’s…


You have left a legacy of being an exceptional woman. You had unwavering engagement and the commitment for social justice. You are an outstanding citizen, who answered the plight of the environment, a true champion for democracy, human, rights and the environmental conservations. We will remember you for the courage in seeking justice, conservation, equality and fighting corruption and impunity.

You paid a heavy price for the courage that comprised beatings, harassment, torture, public mitigation of the ruthless dictatorial regimes. Despite all, you led inspiration and daring meeting for your gift of refuge to the poor who could not afford a living.

Your tears from the exploded teargas, your blood immersed at Uhuru Park. Your disarming smile in midst of the deadly confrontations; you did put yourself in the line of fire, led inspirational and daring meetings, eventually you succeeded.

Your tireless efforts, the love and advocacy for a green environment, the commitment to the human rights, made you an eminent icon across the globe: The Green Belt Movement spoke of your global concern.

You won through the power of the will to succeed, a woman of distinction and that is why you are Nobel Laureate, (the most prestigious award in the world). Though to a large extent, we let you down as a country, only embraced you after the world strongly accorded you the rightful place in the society. We promise to foster a sense of responsibility and make your dreams of seeing a green Kenya become true.

With your death, the flags of peace, democracy and sustainable development are half mast. Who will follow your footsteps? We will remember you for your untold fortitude, principles and sincere love for the fellow mankind and the environment. The greatest gift we can give is to begin caring for the environment.

It is with much grief that we will have to say good bye to a great woman, mother, leader, friend, inspiration to many across Africa. Your magnificent vision and the embodiment, surely no one can match you for you have left a legacy behind!

The Writer is a 1st year: School of Arts & Social Sciences, Social Work


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