Kenyan author and gay rights activist Binyavanga Wainaina dies
Kenyan author and gay rights activist Binyavanga Wainaina has died at the age of 48 in Nairobi after a short illness, BBC News reports.
Wainaina made waves in Kenya when he publicly came out as gay in 2014 after a series of anti-gay laws had been passed in some African countries.
The author revealed his sexuality by sharing what he described as a “lost chapter” from his 2011 memoir, One Day I Will Write About This Place. The “lost chapter” was called “I am a Homosexual, Mum.”
Binyavanga Wainaina revealed that he was ‘gay, and quite happy’
The piece confused some readers, which prompted Wainaina to clarify on Twitter: “I am, for anybody confused or in doubt, a homosexual. Gay, and quite happy.”
The writer shot to fame in 2002 when he won the Caine Prize for African writing for a short story called “Discovering Home.”
Sadly, Wainaina had a stroke just a year after coming out as gay, and then in 2016 announced that he was HIV-positive.
“I am, for anybody confused or in doubt, a homosexual. Gay, and quite happy.”
– Binyavanga Wainaina
The Johannesburg Review of Books reported that he passed away at Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi after a stroke last night.
Wainaina was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2014 for his LGBT+ activism.
Binyavanga Wainaina grew up in a country that ‘demonized homosexuality’
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote a tribute to him for the magazine at the time, in which she said he had grown up in a country that “demonized homosexuality.”
“For years he pretended to be what he was not,” Adichie wrote.
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