African leaders in environmental activism

Apologies for the prolonged silence but it's been a bit hectic around here. However the itch to write needed to be scratched, especially the itch to make another "useless" list: the top 5 African leaders leaders in environmental activism.

Environmental protection is a hot topic these days, with good reasons. And it would not be right for the extinct Dwarf Hippo to not say anything a few days before the whole Live Earth Bonanza, would it ?
The thing is, most of the current champions of the "saving the earth" cause who are in in the news mostly hails from the western world. One would argue that African leaders have bigger fish to fry at this point. However, there is no denying that Africa is the continent that climate change has affected the most.
Another issue tied up to this topic is the concept of environmental colonialism also notoriously known as the "saving Africa from Africans" theory. I don't think that idea warrant too much explanation. The fact is, Africa is affected by the climate change and that the issue needs to be addressed by Africans with effective environment policies led by Africans.
Without further ado, here is the list of the most influential Africans that have made a difference so far, hoping that much more will complete the list:

1)Wangari Maathai(Kenya): She is the first African woman to be awarded the peace prize since it was created in 1901. Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, a grassroots environmental non-governmental organization, which has now planted over 30 million trees across Kenya to prevent soil erosion. She has come to be affectionately called "Tree Woman."

2) Michael Sampson Werikhe (Kenya): also known as “the Rhino Man” was a Kenyan conservationist. He became famous through his long fundraising walks in East Africa and overseas.

3) Hammerskjoeld Simwinga(Zambia): In Zambia’s North Luangwa Valley, Hammerskjoeld Simwinga—known as Hammer—is utilizing innovative sustainable community development strategies to restore wildlife and transform this poverty-stricken area.

4) Ken Saro-Wima (Nigeria): Saro-Wiwa led a nonviolent campaign against environmental damage associated with the operations of multinational oil companies, especially Shell.

5) Nat Quansah (Madagascar): Nat Quansah, opened a clinic in the northwestern village of Ambodisakoana in 1994. There he developed and implemented the Integrated Health Care and Conservation Program in which the cultural tradition of using natural substances for medicinal purposes is being reintroduced.

Special mention: Jane Goodall ought to be at the top of the list since she lived in Tanzania for 4 decades and married a Tanzanian man. However, I thought we would restrict this list to African-born personalities.
As usual, if you spot any glaring omissions, your input is greatly appreciated.


  1. Slt Lova, C'est un belle liste que tu as dréssé là. J'ai connu Wangari Maathai grace au Film Nobelity et depuis j'ai beaucoup lu sur ce qu'elle fait avec Green belt au Kenya... J'avoue que j'adore ce qu'elle fait, Je rêve même d'un organisme du même pointure à mada :) tsisy gasy environnementaliste ve ? j'ai chercher de mon coté mais il n'y a pas de grand nom qui sortais et je trouve ça un peu dommage ... sa ve nous sommes les enfants gaté de la nature ?. J'ai peur qu'a l'heure ou la conscience mondiale se tourne vers la nature , on n'aura plus rien :(

    Il y a un autre mec dont l'histoire m'a beaucoup touché c'est Corneille E.N. EWANDO du Congo. Il a reçu le prix Golgman comme Nat Quasah en 2005. Grace a son histoire j'ai vraiment compris le sens de la passion. EWANDO était un des francophone lors du TED son histoire est vraiment passionnant et je me domande pourquoi je n'ai pas pensé a lui lors de l'ennumeration des heros sur purple C.

  2. Hey Hjk,
    Je ne savais pas qu'Ewando etait au TED, je l'avais mis dans le top 5 mais Nat Quasah etant base a mada, j'ai eu un petit faible pour son travail :).
    Je suis sur qu'il y a des environmentalistes malgaches de belle pointure mais qui n'ont pas encore atteint la notoriete mondiale. Je pense que c'est pour bientot :D.

  3. Great post here Lova. All those people are great inspirations. To me, Wangari Mathaai stands out, as she's one of the handful women to win the Nobel for Peace. I had the good fortune to attend a talk by Shirin Ebadi (another woman Nobel Peace prize winner), at Columbia Uni last year.

    Live Earth? It's that time of the year again huh? I'm still on a rush from Live 8 last year :)

  4. @Amrita,
    I hope you have your dancing shoes ready for saturday :D. The line-up is quite awesome, I am reallu looking fwd to Joss Stone in Jo'Burg.

  5. V'là notre spécialiste ès listes :)
    Merci pour tous ces noms, je me cultive chaque jour par ici.
    La suite, la suite !


  6. Oh I have more than just dancing shoes ready :) I'm going to be at the Live Earth concert in Giants stadium.... :) ;) Soooo kicked!!

  7. @ Vola,
    "spécialiste ès listes"
    Voila un titre qui fera bien sur mon CV :) option: "specialement incongrue"
    Lucky you :)
    and a bit of OT for a friday
    I send this link to my sister for her birthday and I am guessing you might enjoy it you: "Hugh Grant does Wham !"

  8. Of course he had to come out w/ THE list ! and every time he does it w/ excellency.
    next year some peeps i know will get on this list and we'll all be happy ever after !


  9. That's exactly what I had in mind ;).

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