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The Challenge for Africa [Paperback]

Wangari Maathai
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
Price: £8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

1 April 2010
In this urgent yet optimistic new work, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai provides a unique perspective on the fate of Africa. Informed by her three decades as an environmental activist and campaigner for democracy, The Challenge for Africa celebrates the enduring potential of the human spirit, and reminds us that change is always possible.

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Frequently Bought Together

The Challenge for Africa + The State of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence + Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099539039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099539032
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 94,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"I hope the world will support her vision of hope" (Nelson Mandela)

"From one of Africa's most positive and far-sighted thinkers comes a wonderful book combining an elegant critique of Africa's troubled past with a rallying cry for how Africans can use culture, nature and self-belief to reverse their continent's decline. The Challenge for Africa is a milestone in African writing that both educates and inspires" (Tim Butcher)

"Penetrating. . . a 21st century manifesto for Africans, drawing on her own experience as a worldly Kenyan, street-fighting activists, member of parliament and, from 2003-2006, government minister. Her analysis is thorough. She reaches into African history, culture, psychology, contemporary politics and fragile ecosystems" (Financial Times)

"Like a Nelson Mandela or a Mahatma Gandhi, Maathai stands way above most mortals" (The Guardian)

"Wangari Maathai is a prophet for our time" (Alexandra Fuller)

Book Description

Nobel Peace Prize-winner Wangari Maathai offers a manifesto for C21st Africa.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She Hit it Right! 16 Nov 2010
Prof Wangari Maathai is a visionary to say the least.She weaves through the history,the politics and economic facts very well and truth be told I could not put the book down.I really was challenged as i read the book to help in bettering my country and my continent.The title is truly befitting and all Africans,African leaders and the people need to read this and oh the Bonos as well especially as regards aid.
Simply put amazing,if we all do our part as she says Africa shall surely emerge victorious!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An Unrealistic African Challenge 18 May 2014
Maathai's "The Challenge for Africa" is, as I see it, a disappointing read. Deeply biased, not only does it pin Africa's current woes on colonialism but also perceives post-independence African leadership as a mere "change of the guard" and as entities that warranted business as usual by upkeeping and enhancing the alleged malpractices of the colonial administration. Seems that the colonial period does not hold any good practices and standards at all!

On the other hand, it fails to put the African independence trend of the late 50's, early 60's and 70's into historic context, particularly Southern Africa: the context of the Cold War and the Sino-Soviet regional expansionism back then. Thus, that the Liberation Movements were not only (mostly) Soviet and Chinese backed, but that by pushing for a communist post-independence Africa they embodied a new era of "freedom", development and everlasting happiness! So, not a mere "change of the guard", rather a revolutionary future ! As for the outcome of this "glorious" promised future, considering a few decades have elapsed since then, we all know the story.

"The Challenge for Africa's" political correctness does not stop here. It also works its way into changing Political Science's concepts as in "tribe" which it replaces by "micro-nation", considering the former negative.

All in all, Maathai's book proposed solutions for Africa within the Three Legged Stool, - democratic space, sustainable and accountable management and the adoption of "cultures of peace", is just wishful thinking. A continent devastated by recurrent instability, save a few exceptions, is ages away from democracy and what it entails!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Wangari has the problems in Africa nailed, but her ideas on the solutions focus on the institution that are manifestly weak. Surely there needs to be more attention given to removing criminals from Leadership positions rather than hoping for the best.
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By Noddy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Fantastic - written by an African Nobel prize winner, clearly argued, broad in overview, says some very honest things, but never in a simplistic way. Unlike any other "problem of aid" books, the author speaks pragmatically, yet with passion and hope, and with the authority and insight of someone born in the continent.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this complex book because it was written by someone I respect. May she rest in peace. The book covers a lot of topics in detail that affect Africa including its colonial past. There was not much that I didn't already know but I am glad that it was written by a Nobel prize winner, so that it is taken seriously.

From an African point of view, I agree with her points and solutions when it comes to political and economical issues facing Africa today. Good governance and self sustenance is the way forward, although one solution will not apply to all 54 countries. Having said that, I am still of the view that aide is very important in some sectors e.g. health.

If you are interested in African development, this book is for you.
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3.0 out of 5 stars somewhat interesting but too generic 9 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
for a first time reader on African politics this would be a great place to start, or if you need a refresher then its great too. The format of most chapters is to spend 17 pages addressing the many problems of the particular topic, which have been stated many times before, then 1 or two pages suggesting policy recommendations. The balance was not quite right therefore but the book was interesting none the less.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a must read 26 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Clear, incisive and a must read for everyone who cares about Africa and the future of the world written by a strong woman with vast experience.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT
This book is so so so brilliant - Only God knows why I hadn't read it earlier. Have even ordered copies for friends! An excellent book.
Published 2 months ago by Marricke Gane
2.0 out of 5 stars not conclusive
The author is not honestly showing the intellectual capacity of a historian.
The language is the standard vocabulary of professional politicians. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Pietro Giacomo
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading
A book that all people interested in helping African countries should read - before they "wade in" with their help.
Published 13 months ago by HK
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read
This book covers well the various issues facing Africa today, in particular corruption and ethnic conflict. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Broxtons
5.0 out of 5 stars The Challenge for Africa
This woman changed the whole aspect on RETURNING nature to it's roots - so many have been busy denuding it which I was always against for many years. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Anna Parkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb and persuasive writing
The arguments are very convincing and the writing style is as clear, elegant, and transparent as you will come across. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Carpentier Philippe
5.0 out of 5 stars The challenge fro Africa by Wangari Maathai
The book is an excellent and insightful piece of work! However the copy I received is VERY poorly bound. The first 44 pages have fallen out and I have not completed the book! Read more
Published on 4 Dec 2011 by Emilia Onyema
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