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Cinema Politica

How planting trees seeded a nationwide movement, helping bring down the Kenyan dictatorship

  • 7pm, Wednesday, February 16
  • Room 216, Young building, Lansdowne campus

Everyone welcome; admission is by donation.

Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai

Deciding to plant trees for fuel, shade, and food seemed only logical to Kenyan-born Wangari Maathai. Little did she know it would be her first step towards becoming the Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. After being educated in the United States in the 1960's civil rights era, Matthai returned to her birthplace in rural Kenya. Reconnecting with the women she had grown up with, she discovered their daily lives had become intolerable: they were walking longer distances for firewood, clean water had become scarce, the soil was disappearing from their fields, and their children were suffering from malnutrition.

Maathai soon discovered that tree planting had a ripple effect of empowering change. Initially started as the Green Belt Movement encouraging rural women to take power over their lives, these grassroots women soon found themselves working successively against deforestation, poverty, ignorance, embedded economic interests, and political oppression, until they became a national political force. She had started the path to reclaiming her country's land from 100 years of deforestation, providing new sources of food and income to rural communities, giving previously impoverished and powerless women a vital political role in their country, and ultimately helping bring down Kenya's twenty-four-year dictatorship.

Magnifying understanding: the post-film discussion

The African Awareness Committee is a co-sponsor of this event. Dr. Francis Adu-Febiri, Camosun sociology instructor and committee member will facilitate a post-film discussion, offering a great opportunity to learn more and discuss this African reality.

Cinema Politica is co-sponsored by Camosun's School of Arts and Science, Students for a Democratic Society, and other student groups on campus. For more info, contact English instructor Jeanne Iribarne at

Last updated: April 6, 2011 11:16 am

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