I remember that ‘breaking news’ at around 6:15 a.m. on 26th September 2011. Maina Kageni came on air to announce the death of the Nobel laureate at the Nairobi Hospital while receiving treatment. I think my mind shut down for a moment and all I could say was “shit!”. I don’t usually curse but that morning, the word just came out of my mouth unintentionally.
|Prof. Maathai receives the Nobel prize in 2004|
I remembered reading in The Star about a week prior to her death that Wangari Maathai was in hospital.
No details were provided because she did not want her health a matter of public discussions. I thought to myself she was just suffering from a minor ailment and would soon be back to her usual active and smiling self. How wrong I was!
She never left the hospital alive, not even to plant one more tree or to smile one more time.
Kenya and the world bade her farewell yesterday at a function devoid of pomp and ceremony, just as she wanted.
|A mammoth crowd: the youth turned up in large numbers to bid farewell to a role model and icon.|
We have lost a gallant sister but like Raila Odinga said, she will forever be with us through her work which will carry on for many generations to come.
The amazing this about the great lady is that she stayed true to her cause even in death.