Annual Lecture 2005
Nobel laureate Prof Wangari Maathai delivered the Third Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on July 19, 2005. She called for Africa to “rise up and walk”, noting that only an empowered Africa could extricate itself from poverty and despair. She called disempowerment “perhaps the most unrecognised problem in Africa today”.
She referred to a Biblical story where Peter and John told a beggar, lame from birth, to “rise up and walk”, which he promptly did. “He was an empowered man: no longer a beggar, no longer dehumanised. Now he could go and take care of himself with dignity, self-respect and confidence,” said Maathai. “Friends and leaders of Africa should be like Peter and John.”
Maathai noted G8 leaders’ concerns over corruption on the continent. “But it is important to realise that those who are guilty do not suffer,” she said. “It is the poor who suffer. Ordinary citizens will continue to suffer when debt is not cancelled.”