Wangari Mathaai, UNBOWED: Closing the Chapter
I was born the third of six children, and the first girl after two sons, on April 1, 1940, in the small village of Ihithe in the central highlands of what was then British Kenya. My grandparents and parents were also born in this region near the provincial capital of Nyeri, in the foothills of the Aberdare Mountain Range. To the north, jutting into the sky, is Mount Kenya.
At the time of my birth, the land around Ihithe was still lush, green, and fertile. The seasons were so regular that you could almost predict that the long, monsoon rains would start falling in mid-March. In July you knew it would be so foggy you would not be able to see ten feet in front of you, and so cold in the morning that the grass would be silvery-white with frost. In Kikuyu, July is known as mworia nyoni, the month when birds rot, because birds would freeze to death and fall from the trees.
–Wangari Maathai, UNBOWED
The late Professor Wangari Maathai was the first woman in Africa to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Winning this prize eventually earned her international recognition in the field of environmental conservation. Our November TBC Book Club selection, Unbowed: One Woman’s Story is her memoir.
Upon reading the book, you will notice that the book follows a chronological order of events, which take the reader through Maathai’s formative years. Using very descriptive language which manages to be simple without being simplistic.
As the month comes to an end, we hope that the book UNBOWED allowed you to appreciate the cause to which this one, headstrong, fearless woman devoted her life to. We hope that her story of defiance and character that caused her to push back and challenge all these previously held assumptions and attitudes inspires you to find something that you in turn, can fight for to death; something that will immortalise you; something that will allow you to go on living long after your death.