Wednesday, March 15, 2006

UN Women's Day

Women's Day was like a week ago. I had intended to honour two or three Kenyan women, but didn't get round to it. I'm going to now.

First, Wangari Maathai. She's fought a 30-year battle against environmental degradation in Kenya, during which she's had to overcome truly frightening obstacles, not least among them the violent thuggery of Moi's clowns. Dr. Maathai's struggle was rewarded with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Appropriately enough, she was Kenya's first Nobel Laureate.

Second, Margaret W. Kenyatta, who was one of the very first women to take a major political role in Kenya. She was a Nairobi city councillor for years, and then Mayor of Nairobi 1970-76. Nobody who has recently been resident in Nairobi can truthfully say that things have not deteriorated since. Ms. Kenyatta was also Kenya's ambassador (1976-86) to the United Nations Environmental Programme. She made a success of that too. I've met her twice, I think, and she was wonderful - warm, powerful, wry, and at ease with the world.

Third, my Mum. Who, for many years, managed to run a successful business and make sure her kids got to school on time. Surely there can be no tougher task given to humankind. Love you, Mum.

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