Nobel Laureate Urges Africans to Rise Up
By ALEXANDRA ZAVIS, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 28 minutes ago
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Nobel Peace Prize
winner Wangari Maathai on Tuesday challenged
Africans to rise to the challenges facing the
world's poorest continent — not wait for handouts.
Maathai, a Kenyan environmentalist, spoke at an
annual lecture in honor of former South African
president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela,
who turned 87 on Monday.
Maathai expressed concern about African leaders
who govern in their own interests and not those
of their people. She urged them to invest in
education and technical skills, manage their
resources sustainably, promote peace and
security, and strengthen their civil societies.
"Friends and leaders of Africa ... should strive
to empower Africa and not only give her alms,"
She was joined on stage by fellow Nobel laureate
and former Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and
former President Clinton, who have delivered
"Here is the birthday boy — 87 years young," Tutu
said as a frail-looking Mandela — also a Nobel
winner — came on stage supported by his wife,
Graca Machel. Tutu then led a theater full of
political, business and other leaders in singing
"Happy Birthday" as Mandela blew out the candles
on a giant cake.
Maathai said she was encouraged by the recent
meeting of leaders of the Group of Eight richest
countries, who agreed to cancel the debts of some
of the poorest countries and pledged to double
aid to Africa by 2010. She also noted their
reluctance to do more, particularly for countries
plagued by corrupt leaders and a poor human
rights record. But she said it is not the guilty
who pay the price.
"It is the ordinary citizens who suffer when
debts are not canceled, when financial assistance
is not forthcoming or when trade barriers are
raised," she said.
Clinton said actions taken at the G-8 summit in
Scotland were "the beginning not the end of the
discussion." Decisions still have to be made
about how the money is going to be spent and by
"The whole thing should be toward empowerment so
that when you are finished everybody who is
touched by these benefits will be able to make
their own way," he said.
Tutu urged women to follow Maathai's example and
take on a greater leadership role on the troubled
"For no woman will ever say: 'I carry a baby for
nine months in my womb' and then turn that child
into cannon fodder," he said. "My call is: Women,
how about a revolution?"
Clinton, whose New York senator wife is rumored
to have her eye on the presidency, caused a burst
of laughter when he responded that his family was
already doing its part toward that revolution.