Wangari Maathai’s Postcolonial Environmental Struggle

Proceedings of The 4th World Conference on Social Sciences

Year: 2022



Wangari Maathai’s Postcolonial Environmental Struggle

Sultan Alghofaili



This paper turns to the works of the Kenyan environmental activist Wangari Maathai in order to highlight her life’s struggle to preserve Kenya’s fertile soil as an environmental resistance to postcolonial environmental corruption. This is carried out through taking a closer look at Maathai’s memoir, Unbowed, and how it was successful in dramatizing the poor’s struggle against the injustice that was first carried out by the colonial government, and then by the Kenyan corrupted regime. In order to achieve this goal, the paper studies the concept of slow violence as being an indirect violence against the poor with delayed effects. This is analyzed through studying the colonizers’ environmental crimes such as deforestation as being an example of such an act of slow violence with deadly effects seen as malnutrition or hunger. The study concludes that Maathai was successful in preserving the Kenyan sources of food from the colonial impacts through dedicating her life to the environment. A struggle that started during the colonial era, and continued through the corruption of the Moi regime.

keywords: Postcolonialism, Environment, African literature, Wangari Maathai, deforestation.