Wangari Maathai, honored for a long career of empowering women highlighted by a movement that planted 30 million trees, made the claim to an AIDS workshop in Nyeri, Kenya, Aug. 30, according to the East African Standard:
AIDS is not a curse from God to Africans or the black people. It is a tool to control them designed by some evil-minded scientists.
Though Maathai now claims she was taken out of context, she reiterated the belief in a press conference on Oct. 9, the day after news broke she would win the prize:
Us black people are dying more than any other people in this planet. ... it is created by a scientist for biological warfare."