Born on April 1, 1940, in Nyeri, Kenya, environmental activist Wangari Maathai grew up in a small village. Her father supported the family working as a tenant farmer. At this time, Kenya was still a British colony. Her family was of the Kikuyu ethnic group, the most populous ethnic group in Kenya, and had lived in the area for several generations. Around 1943, Maathai's family relocated to a white-owned farm in the Rift Valley, near the town of Nakuru, where her father had found work.