Kenyans paid their final respects to Africa’s first female Nobel Peace laureate Saturday in Nairobi.
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki oversaw the state funeral for Wangari Maathai, making her the first woman and third Kenyan to ever receive the honor. Maathai died Sunday at the age of 71 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
President Kibaki said Maathai was “Kenya’s most outstanding champion of environment sustainability” and that present and future generations will enjoy a “much cleaner and safer environment.”
Maathai rose to fame in 2004 after winning the Nobel Peace Prize for her environmental work and efforts on women’s rights.
Through her Green Belt movement, she had organized the planting of 30-million trees in Kenya. The movement also had its roots in protecting the most vulnerable, including the poor and women. Maathai’s group eventually expanded to include political and economic issues.