Binyavanga Wainaina (1971-2019)

The Curator

Kenneth Binyavanga Wainaina (18 January 1971 – 21 May 2019) was a Kenyan author, journalist, and 2002 winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing. In April 2014, Time magazine included Wainaina in its annual TIME 100 as one of the “Most Influential People in the World”.

In 2014, Wainaina revealed a lost chapter from his 2011 memoir, One Day I Will Write About This Place, where he came out as gay.

Family members of Kenyan author and LGBT activist Binyavanga Wainaina, who died in Nairobi last week at the age of 48, read his eulogy during a memorial service at the Nairobi national museum in Nairobi, Kenya, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner – RC1FC3F15A20

“All people have dignity. There’s nobody who was born without a soul and a spirit,” he said, in an interview with the Associated Press in 2014. “There is nobody who is a beast or an animal, right? Everyone, we homosexuals, are people and we need our oxygen to breathe.”

In December 2016, Wainaina posted on Twitter that he was living with HIV. Wainaina’s literary works include How to Write About Africa (2006), One Day I Will Write About This Place: A Memoir (2012) and Nguva Na Nyoka (2016) meaning Sirens and Serpents in Swahili.

Wainaina passed away in a Nairobi hospital on May 21, 2019. You can read his biography here.

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