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Kenyans prolific writer Binyavanga Wainaina, who was born in Nakuru in Rift Valley Province has died after a short illness in Kenya.
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He is popularly known for his debut book, a memoir entitled One Day I Will Write About This Place, was published in 2011.
In January 2014, in response to a wave of anti-gay laws passed in Africa, Wainaina publicly announced that he was gay, first writing a short story that he described as a “lost chapter” of his 2011 memoir entitled “I am a Homosexual, Mum”, and then tweeting: “I am, for anybody confused or in doubt, a homosexual. Gay, and quite happy.
Prize-winning Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina has died in Nairobi after a short illness at the age of 48.
Wainaina was also named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2014 for his gay rights activism.
He “demystified and humanized homosexuality” author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote at the time.
Wainaina was one of the first high-profile Kenyans to openly declare he was gay and “he felt an obligation to chip away at the shame” that people felt about being gay, Adichie added.
Wainaina challenged Kenyans to rethink their negative stereotypes about homosexuality, Nyabola added.
“Inasmuch as homosexuality is illegal in Kenya, there are people who are very comfortable with their identity… but the public space for acceptance and respect has always been lacking and even characterised by violence,” Nyabola said.
“What he said is ‘look I’m here and I’m still the same person that you know and love and respect ‘… I think it’s incredibly powerful,” she added.
Homosexual relations are currently illegal in Kenya but the Supreme Court is due to rule on Friday whether to overturn the law banning them.
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