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Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina smiles during an interview with the AFP on January 27, 2014, in Nairobi. (Photo: SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)

'The Most Audacious Writer I Know:' the African Literary Community Reflects on Binyavanga Wainaina's Legacy

The Kenyan literary icon and LGBTQ activist is being celebrated and remembered for his "fearlessness."

Binyavanga Wainaina was one of the continent's boldest voices. As an openly gay Kenyan man and activist, he put himself on the line to challenge bigotry and anti-gay sentiments in his country. As an author, he denounced trite narratives about African life—often with great wit—and offered perspective and nuance instead.

His extensive works include the famous satirical essay How to Write About Africa and "I am Homosexual Mum," in which the author imagined coming out to his late mother. "Binyavanga has demystified and humanized homosexuality," Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote of him in his 2014 Time 100 Most Influential People profile. The two sat down for a conversation back in 2011 at the Lannan Foundation, in which Adichie described Wainaina as "one of her best friends."

He earned a Caine Prize in 2002 for his short story "Discovering Home," and went on to create the literary magazine Kwani. His memoir, "One Day I Will Write About This Place" was published in 2012. His entire archive, from his earlier writings in various South African publications to some of his more recent and well-known works, are listed on the site planetbinya.com. The extensive works listed, illustrate the writer's invaluable contribution to the African literary community and his dedication to combatting the erasure of LGBTQ identity in Africa.


Since his passing on Wednesday morning, several African writers have reflected on his impact. He is being remebered as an LGBTQ icon, a passionate advocate for the community and a bold and "fearless" thinker.

"We have lost a great writer and person," wrote the celebrated Nigerian writer Nnedi Okorafor. "He was the most audacious writer I know. Kind, sweet, charismatic, honest, blunt and such a biting sense of humor. He always spoke his mind and I'm glad he did. His voice was so necessary."

"To me his most important legacy isn't even the writing per se. It's that he made room—he published us, invited us into the platforms, shouted down the walls of Jericho," wrote fellow Kenyan author, Nanjala Nayabola on Twitter.

She also had this to say about the one-of-a-kind author and activist:

Several writers from across the continent have taken to social media to express their appreciation for his work, share personal experiences with him and reflect on his profound legacy. Read their reactions below.








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Photo by Robert Szaniszlo/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Kenyan Athlete Eliud Kipchoge Nominated for Sportsman of the Year Award

The record-breaking marathon runner has been nominated for the top prize in the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards alongside Lionel Messi, Tiger Woods, Lewis Hamilton and Rafael Nadal.

Sport24 reports that Kenyan athlete and marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge has been nominated for Sportsman of the Year in the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards.

He's made the prestigious nominations list alongside Lionel Messi, Tiger Woods, Lewis Hamilton and Rafael Nadal.

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Nnedi Okorafor attends the 70th Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Nnedi Okorafor's 'Binti' Is Being Developed Into a TV Series at Hulu

The award-winning novella is coming to a screen near you.

Binti, the acclaimed book by award-winning Nigerian-American author Nnedi Okorafor, is being adapted into a TV series, set to premiere on Hulu. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to break the news.

The three-part, science fiction novella will be adapted for screen under the studio Media Res. The script is being written by both Okorafor and writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour, who has previously written for Watchmen and The Morning Show amongst others.

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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