By Kevin Koech |
Time Magazine has released its full list of 100 most influential people of 2021 and plans to showcase the list with seven special worldwide covers. Celebrities and political leaders showcased on the covers include Prince Harry and Meghan, gymnast Simone Biles among many others. Kenyan environmentalist Phyllis Omido was featured in the pioneers category for her role in an intense court battle that saw a community in Mombasa awarded Sh1.3 billion.
Phyllis Omido was a single mother working at a lead-smelting plant in Mombasa, Kenya. When she learned that her baby boy, like others in her area, had been affected by lead poisoning, she refused to be silenced—despite pressure from both her employer and her government. Fueled by a fierce desire to protect her son and all of the children in her village, Phyllis quit her job and led community efforts to close the plant.
Over the course of a 12-year battle, her work led to both the shuttering of the plant in 2014 and, in 2020, a landmark $12 million settlement awarded to lead-poisoning victims in her community. Though the settlement now faces an appeal by Kenya’s environmental agency, she had the passion, the strength and the stick-to-it-iveness to see the case through.
Ugandan-British actor David Kaluuya was also featured on this year’s Time Magazine 100 Most Influential People for the release of Hollywood blockbuster films including Get Out and Black Panther. Another notable name was Benin singer Angelique Kidjo who is known for her music influences and creative music videos.