05 April 2013 Written by 

African Heroes for Mother Nature

This story is a sequel to a story that was done by The Guadian (Read it here), entitled: Maasai fury as plan to lure Arabian Gulf tourists threatens their ancestral land. We did this story to show that, local communities do not only survive on money from so called investors, but their culture and heritage is also important. Please help us put pressure on the Tanzania government here: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/maasai_ss_tag_dm/?pv=50

Paul Ngoitiko will be a hero regardless of the result of the agreement by the Tanzanian Government and the Ortello Business Corporation (OBC) of United Arab Emirates. Garbed in bright red tartan cloaks, Ngoitiko and his fellow tribesmen of the Maasai community will march 20km in demonstration. What drives him? Many may say it is the basic fact that the OBC is en route to setting up a luxury hunting and safari tourism company in his Maasai ancestral home. Others may remark that it is the fear of losing the grazing area for the cattle and fear of finding no alternative. Others may say it is because the Maasai do not feel the trickle of the profits the foreigners make using the African resources. Some say it may be all of the above reasons combined. Whatever the reason, one truth stands firm.

Ngoitiko will be a hero.

Our nature lacks such heroes. They are so few that the Nobel Laureate award would attract only one outstanding woman without any competition. Where did the heroes and heroines of nature go? The answer may be, probably they never existed. The Late Wangari Maathai would be proud of Ngoitiko. In the final decade of the 20th Century, Wangari Maathai was beaten by Kenyan police, stripped naked and thrown into a prison cell for opposing the building of a skyscraper in Nairobi's Central Business District park. Many Africans and foreigners enjoy the lush greenery of Uhuru Park today because a heroine like Wangari stood up when all odds were against her.

Courage often skips a generation or two. However it comes back in uncanny ways. Not necessarily in bleeding from bullet wounds and surviving from grenade attacks, no. It returns in enduring jeers for being traditional and backward whilst standing for virtue and truth. It returns in the taunts about hindering the next economic frontier while we destroy the natural frontier. It returns in enduring the insults of being narrow-minded for not joining the masses that drive a dagger in Mother Nature's belly. That kind of courage needs to be inordinate for the sake of the flora and fauna that cannot speak for itself. We are the guardians of nature.

Serengeti can evolve into another concrete jungle with the start of a company in the wild. Next the company will require safety from the wild animals so extreme measures to protect the Homo Sapiens will be employed. Then they will shift the wildebeest migration to favour their transportation systems. The 40% track of grazing land they intend to acquire will soon be 90% touring company land. While we build an empire for ourselves, we destroy a natural kingdom more beautiful and undeserving of our presence.

I live in Kenya but I urge Ngoitiko and I urge his fellow Tanzanians, not just the ones from the Maasai tribe, rise up and join the league of heroes of nature. Be the Wangari Maathais that your country needs. The S on your chests may not be visible but we will see it when the Serengeti still prides itself as a natural African landscape that none in the world can match. S for Serengeti and for the super men and women that defend it. Let courage not skip this generation even when we feel the cost is not worthwhile for us. For you see, a popular African saying teaches: "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."



Ernest Wamboye Wakhusama

Ernest Wamboye is a writer and editor working in Nairobi, Kenya. He is also a volunteer Brand Ambassador at AfricaTalentbank.com and an origami artist and storyteller at Arts & OAK, a company that he founded. Ernest is married to Waturi and they both live in Nairobi, Kenya.
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Twitter Handle: @ewamboye
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