Sub-Saharan African Women Take Action: Wangari Maathai

In an Opinion Editorial which appeared in The Guardian, Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai voices her optimism that the pro-democracy protests taking place throughout North Africa and the Middle East will spread to sub-Sahara Africa.

Women in the Ivory Coast came out in the hundreds last week to march for peace on behalf of the seven women killed who protested the disputed election earlier this month. Maathai writes, “The women’s bravery will be an inspiration to others in Africa and elsewhere.”


Ethnic rivalries and linguistic differences continue to be exploited in many sub-Saharan countries by the police and the army whose allegiance is to the ‘man in power’ and not to the state. Maathai fears that the regime will continue to use reprisals and violence against peaceful protesters with a sense of impunity. She remains hopeful that the African Union will place pressure on the heads of state to end the violence and protect citizens’ rights to freedom and equality.


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These Winds of Change May Now Reach Across the Sahara, Wangari Maathai, The Guardian, 8 Mar 2011.