The Mugumo tree: A poetic homage in honour of Wangari Maathai's Enduring Legacy
UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI
FACULTY OF ARTS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
DEPARTMENT OF LITERATURE
Prof. Wangari Maathai
Daughter of Africa, winner of Nobel Prize for Peace 2004
The Mugumo tree
In future when our children awake,
Step out in a bright morning,
Smell the freshness of nature’s fragrance,
See the blooming and the blossoming flowers.
Touch the dew droplets on green leaves,
Feel the sensation of young sunrays,
They will see the good in God’s creations And in fullness of their voices proclaim
“Today is a Wangari morning!”
For such is the freshness, you bequeath the world
Wangari, you of the leopard,
Born of the wild, and accustomed to the night,
In the days your spots are a spectacle, in the night your eyes sparkle.
In the days your spots are spectacle, in the night your eyes sparkle.
You know your way around the woods, grassland blends with your spots.
You quench your thirst in mountain springs where the birds sing
You take refuge in trees, with guile you lay in traces of shades
Your enemies you rattle, because you’re a sly hunter ready for battle.
You are at home with nature that’s why you were hard to capture
You belonged to the world, all in the wild you nurtured,
May tried to have you tethered, in hope you will be domesticated,
Bend your will to their whims and answer to all they demanded,
But your wild spirit was unbound, your desires unfettered
While they thought of you caged, and your hands manacled,
In hard times you cried you sought repair,
When we felt despair you sought repair,
When our souls were pained you brought solace.
As a leopard,
You didn’t need to proclaim your leopardess,
All those who saw you noticed your gracefulness,
Those who tried to soil you could not rub off your spots
Weren’t you always the first?
The dark girl from Nyeri
Who scaled heights in anatomy
The first African doctorate in the region
But you found the library a prison.
So you set out to explore the environ
‘Cause cutting of trees was ruining the economy
And you wanted to spare us agony
In process won accolades in botany
The world noticed you were noble
It was your country you wanted to accolades in botany
The world noticed you are noble
It was your country you wanted to enable
So they decorated you first African women peace Noble
You the Mugumo, the community trunk,
From you a tribe will spring,
Whose identity is the colour green,
Rivulets will flow like springs
Gather into a mighty stream
You sparked all with a female scream
Marking the beginning of our dream
Trees will be planted in your name
Watering them will be the name of the game
Your name will be written in hall of fame
For the monument that you built
Will be protected by the green commandos
And all your followers will come before it
The Wangari Shrine, A mugumo tree.