The Challenge for Africa

Thursday, April 09, 2009

In her native Kenya, environmental and political activist Wangari Maathai faced arrest, beatings and was called a subversive for her activism. But in 2004 she became the first African woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. Her book is called The Challenge for Africa.

Event: Wangari Maathai will be in conversation with Leonard Lopate
Thursday, April 9, at 6:30 pm
The Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street

The documentary Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai, an Independent Lens presentation, airs on PBS Tuesday, April 14.


Wangari Maathai

Comments [4]

Rebecca Popenoe from Stockholm, Sweden

A propos language and Africa: Ingmar Bergman made movies in a language that only 9 million people now speak. The majority of people in Senegal, a country with around 9 million people also, speak Wolof, so it seems hypocritical to suggest that it is a problem when African filmmakers make films in local languages! Over 20 million West Africans speak Hausa, and even more East Africans speak Swahili. As to linguistic and ethnic diversity in Africa, Switzerland gets along just fine with four offical languages. There is an unfairness, even a subtle racism,in the West's way of discussing diversity in Africa.

Many adjacent African ethnic groups may not have mutually intelligible languages but they share very similar cultures and often religions -- more than one can say about the United States. So I agree with Wangara Maathai. Different standards are applied to Africa in a way that may even hinder Africans themselves from realizing the potential of this vibrant continent.

Apr. 09 2009 12:31 PM
Ash in Manhattan from Manhattan

I have just read my comments of a few minutes ago. I want to be clear: I am an African American; I know that she is not (which my sloppy English might have suggested).

Apr. 09 2009 12:29 PM
Ash in Manhattan from Manhattan

My goodness. What a wonderfully articulate guest! As an African American, her insights are piercing, powerful and persuasive.

Apr. 09 2009 12:26 PM
Glenn from Manhattan

Colonial living is like being a child, it is e-a-s-i-e-r, so growing up and governing oneself by a bottom up style of governance is h-a-r-d-e-r. Most would rather stay children and petition their parents (the gov't) for a higher allowance instead of going out and getting a job and becoming an adult. And of course, I'm not just referring to Africa or developing nations. The U.S. is not heading toward bottom up governance, government is becoming more centralized.

Apr. 09 2009 12:13 PM

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