Nairobi — If you told anyone that the word “shawry for the forest” would be used to ever describe Nobel Peace Prize Wangari Maathai in 2022, they would have taken it as bluff, others would actually be offended on her behalf.
But behold that same word which means an attractive young woman has now been used to describe the hailed activist. Some consider the term condescending and pejorative.
In a video that has gone viral, a young man who was being interviewed by a social media influencer described Maathai as ‘ that shawry for the forest’ when asked to name the first Kenyan woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
This has made the social media awash in disbelief that the respected environmental activist revered can be referred as a shawry, which is an American slang.
“Who is the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in Kenya?” the interviewer asked.
“In Kenya, it’s the shawry for the forest, anaitwa? (who is she called?)… ..Wangari Maathai ” he answered while laughing.
Maathai was beaten and jailed for her protests against President Daniel Arap Moi’s government, including its plans to build a 60-storey government building in the middle of Uhuru Park in central Nairobi.
She’s survived jail, beatings, and endless death threats to help topple government decisions, save Kenya’s forests, and bring hope to countless women and children.
Imagine calling Wangari Maathai “The shawry for the forest”… ..arrest this kid man 😂😂🤦🏾♂️ pic.twitter.com/TaCbBuVxzO– Limo (@Limorio_) June 21, 2022
Kenyans on social media expressed diverse opinions on the viral video with some questioning what children are taught in schools if not legends who have created an impact in the society and that tremendously set the foundation for future generations.
You all Generation Z don’t respect Wangari Maathai. Ati “That shawry for the trees”. Ghai!– BRAVIN YURI (@BravinYuri) June 21, 2022
The consequences of history being scrapped from primary school in Kenya. Now homeschooling and atleast my 5yr old knows Wangari Maathai. Sad times ahead that we are wiping out history from the future generation. It means we are bound to repeat it. https://t.co/mzSwYZ8q1J– The Artivist (@SamiaOBwana) June 22, 2022
I just watched one of you call Wangari Maathai “the shawrie for the forest”… The 2000s generation will show us things! Eeh– Bryan (@Mulonib_) June 22, 2022
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