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Tabitha M Kanogo

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Entwining archival material and oral testimony, Kanogo emphasizes women's 'opportunities for physical and cultural migration from old ways of life to new ones' (p. Chapter six examines protracted missionary efforts to medicalize Kenyan women’s birthing practice beginning in 1908 through the 1940s. Class and Economic Change in Kenya: The Making of an African Petite Bourgeoise (London: Yale University Press). Kanogo also demonstrates the link that Maathai saw between political corruption and environmental degradation. The emergence of individualism amongst Kenyan women and girls, Kanogo argues, involved “normative and geographical migration” (p.

Premising its approach on the colonial contempt for African husbandry and land management practices, the government introduced mandatory soil conservation measures that Africans perceived as irrational and punitive. Consumed by a desire to achieve political freedom for all Kenyans, she pursued her quest for democracy and respect for human rights in multiple ways, such as demonstrating at Uhuru Park’s Freedom Corner with the mothers of political prisoners and vying for political office. Access options Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. At the time of her death in 2011, the movement had mushroomed into a multipronged organization that continued to promote a holistic approach in focusing on environmental protection, the strengthening of rural communities, and the economic empowerment of those involved in the movement; today, GBM has chapters all over the world. To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.This activism put her on a collision course with the Kenyan government from 1978 to 2002, as the regime became increasingly authoritarian and corrupt and progressively failed to deliver basic services to the majority of the population. The story of the hummingbird trying to put out a massive forest fire while all the other animals stand by totally overwhelmed and powerless is a befitting analogy to Maathai’s relentless effort to curb environmental degradation despite daunting political opposition, intimidation, shaming, and even physical abuse. She shows how colonial administration, missionaries, and indigenous customs variously used clitoridectomy, dowry, marriage, maternity, and motherhood to control African women.

She married an aspiring politician during her postgraduate studies and had three children after obtaining her degree in 1971. As Kanogo demonstrates in discussing runaways and converts to Islam, women asserted agency in the space between customary and statutory law. The pertinent institutions and practices include the legal and cultural status of women, clitoridectomy, dowry, marriage, maternity and motherhood, and formal education. In doing so, food insecurity would be reduced and “women would cease to travel long distances to fetch water and firewood” (p.Chapter four argues that the increased monetarization of dowry in the late 1920s reflected the shift from marriage as a community event to an individual event. Chapter one on women’s legal and cultural status covers “the formative, deeply fractured and fluid” period of 1910 to 1930 in which the colonial administration attempted to codify women’s status under customary law.

In 1977, a year after joining the National Council of Women of Kenya (NCWK), Maathai founded the GBM as a project of the NCWK. She pursued a master’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.Juggling household responsibilities and an academic career alongside her husband’s hectic political life was too great a burden for their marriage.

The transformations that resulted from these reworkings involved the negotiation and redefinition of the meaning of individual liberties and of women's agency, along with the reconceptualization of kinship relations and of community.

Kanogo traces the squatters' increasing poverty and disillusion and their involvement in Mau Mau, particularly that of the women. With a focus on the few highly educated, Christian women, there is a tendency throughout to stress the historical specificity of the colonial period. Please also list any non-financial associations or interests (personal, professional, political, institutional, religious or other) that a reasonable reader would want to know about in relation to the submitted work. Chapter seven on formal education is the richest chapter, analyzing some gripping oral testimony by individual Kenyan women who struggled to obtain secondary and post-secondary education in the 1930s through the 1950s. In her biography of Maathai, Tabitha Kanogo articulates how Maathai saw solutions to the problems in modern African society as holistic: she was simultaneously challenging sexism, environmental degradation, class inequality, and political corruption.

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