Binyavanga Wainaina Kenyan Gay Rights Activist and Author Dies at 48

WainainaBinyavanga Wainaina, a gay award-winning author and activist died on May 21, 2019. He was 48 years old.

Wainaina died in a hospital in Nairobi after suffering from a short illness. In 2015, he suffered from a stroke.

In 2002 Wainaina won for African writing the Caine Prize for “Discovering Home” which was a short story. He was also the founder of Kwani, a literary magazine.

In 2014, Time Magazine named Wainaina one of the 100 most influential people for his activism for gay rights.

After winning the honor, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said he “Humanized and demystified homosexuality.”

Wainaina, a Kenyan, was one of the first high profile individuals to come out as being gay.

Adichie said, “he felt it was his duty to break away the shame that people felt about being homosexual.”

Never to shy away from being gay, on January 20, 2014, Wainaina tweeted on Twitter “I am for anybody who doubts it or is confused, gay, homosexual, and happy.”

On December 1, 2016, World AIDS Day, he announced on Twitter his HIV status tweeting “I’m HIV Positive, and I am happy.”

Wainaina also promoted African creativity, art, and culture. In 2010, he conceived the Pilgrimage project. This was a way African writing could be promoted.

The project would take 14 African writes to write about cities in Africa to write the biggest travel book related to Africa.

Written by Barbara Sobel

Sources:

CNN: Kenyan author and gay rights activist Binyavanga Wainaina dies at 48
BBC: Binyavanga Wainaina: Kenyan author and gay rights activist dies
Boston 25: Kenyan author, LGBT activist Binyavanga Wainaina dies at 48

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Erik (HASH) Hersman’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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