Maathai argues that Africans need to revive their sense of identity, their cultural inheritance, and a shared sense of common purpose to face the challenges posed by endemic corruption, the legacies of colonialism and the Cold and civil wars, poverty, and - most urgently - climate change. Endless images of nameless starving children aimed at guilt ...Read MoreMaathai argues that Africans need to revive their sense of identity, their cultural inheritance, and a shared sense of common purpose to face the challenges posed by endemic corruption, the legacies of colonialism and the Cold and civil wars, poverty, and - most urgently - climate change. Endless images of nameless starving children aimed at guilt-tripping westerners have been internalised, leading to a demoralised, passive inertia among millions of citizens. Elections may have spread but the true fabric of democracy is often still tragically absent. Only once the continent has rediscovered its own cultural inheritance can it take active responsibility for its own future. Ultimately what Africa needs is a revolution in leadership, but this cannot be ushered in by western governments, well-meaning NGOs, or even Bono and Sharon Stone - it must happen within African civil society itself. As in Unbowed, Maathai's voice is decisive, authoritative, and unsentimental.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2009-03-09 Africa's moral and cultural dysfunctions loom as large as its material problems in this wide-ranging jeremiad. Maathai (Unbowed), a Kenyan biologist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for organizing the tree-planting Green Belt Movement, surveys Africa's struggle with poverty and disease, political violence, climate change, the legacy of colonialism and a global economy that's stacked against it. But the deeper problem she sees is the selfishness, opportunism and shortsightedness of Africans themselves, from leaders who exploit their countrymen and loot their nations' resources to poor farmers who ruin the land for short-term gain. Maathai means this as an empowering message aimed at a mindset of dependency that would rather "wait for someone to magically make development happen"; she urges Africans to recover indigenous traditions of community solidarity and self-help, along with the virtues of honesty, fairness and hard work. Maathai shrewdly analyzes the links between environmental degradation and underdevelopment, and floats intriguing proposals, like banning plastic bags as a malaria-abatement measure. But the challenges she addresses are vast and intractable-and sadly, many of the development and environmental initiatives she extols seem to have already fizzled. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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