Wangari Maathai

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the environmentalist and human rights campaigner Wangari Maathai. Known these days as 'Africa's Forest Goddess' for her pioneering work fighting soil erosion and poverty across the continent, she's united her passion for the power of nature with a crusade for political justice.

Born the third of six children in the central highlands of Kenya, the family home was a traditional mud-walled house with no electricity or running water. From there, her journey has been extraordinary - she won a scholarship to America, became a professor and launched the Greenbelt Movement which has educated and encouraged African women to plant millions of trees. She has campaigned against the erosion of human rights in Kenya and in 2004 she became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: I Can't Complain by Patti LaBelle
Book: The Koran
Luxury: A huge basket of fruit.

Release date:

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Sun 1 Jul 2007 11:15


Role Contributor
PresenterKirsty Young
Interviewed GuestWangari Maathai

Featured in...

The Desert Island Discs podcast

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes


Desert island discs 75th anniversary 1920x1080

Read the surprising things we've learned about some stand-out castaways.

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs at 75 1920x1080

Featuring David Beckham, the funniest and most moving moments, animations and quizzes.

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

Why does Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece appeal to so many castaways?