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Wangari Maathai: Voices of Liberation

Grace A. Musila
Wangari Maathai: Voices of Liberation
ISBN: 978-0-7969-2574-9
2019/380 pages
Distributed for HSRC Press


Wangari Maathai (1940-2011), founder of the Green Belt Movement and the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, was a tireless social, environmental, and political activist, as well as an accomplished scholar. A champion of democracy and human rights, she worked tenaciously to dismantle the forces that limit people's access to a dignified life across the Global South and beyond.

Grace Musila astutely explores Maathai's life and multiple legacies and also presents a selection of the laureate’s essays and speeches.


Grace A. Musila is an associate professor in the Department of  African Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand.


  • Introduction.
  • Early Life: Under the Mugumo Tree.
  • National Council of Women of Kenya.
  • Electoral Politics.
  • Countering Colonial Cultures of Nature.
  • Green Belt Movement.
  • Defending Uhuru Park and Karura Forest.
  • Release Political Prisoners.
  • Parliament and Beyond.
  • 2004 Nobel Prize for Peace.
  • Conclusion: Planting Sustainable Futures.
  • Beginnings.
  • Foresters Without Diplomas.
  • The Power of the Tree.
  • Environment and Development.
  • Pillars of Good Governance: The Three-Legged Stool.
  • The Commitment to Service.
  • Moving the Social Machine.
  • Nobel Prize Speech.
  • Rise Up and Walk!: The Third Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture, 19 July 2005.
  • Can the Earth Be Belted? Kenya's Green Belt.
  • Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor.
  • Stranger in the Ecovillage.
  • Wangari Maathai Was Not a Good Woman.
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