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Veteran Kenyan Writer Binyavanga Wainaina Has Passed Away

The prolific author and gay rights activist was 48.

The literary world is currently in mourning after the passing of Binyavanga Wainaina who, according to the BBC, is reported to have suffered from a short illness. The writer is perhaps one of the finest to come from Kenya and was well-known for his essay, How to Write About Africa, a humorous and tongue-in-cheek guide to writing about the beloved African continent.


In 2002, Wainaina was awarded the prestigious Cane Prize for African writing and went on to be named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2014.

In a tribute by his close friend and the renowned Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, she described Wainaina saying, "By publicly and courageously declaring that he is a gay African, Binyavanga Wainaina has demystified and humanized homosexuality and begun a necessary conversation that can no longer be about the "faceless other.""

Wainaina was fiercely unapologetic and open about his homosexuality at a time where homosexuality is still regarded as being criminal under Kenya's laws. In fact, the country's Supreme Court is set to deliver a historical ruling on the decriminalization of homosexuality in just two days.

Tributes have been pouring in on social media since the news of Wainaina's passing was reported.

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Photo: Lex Ash (@thelexash). Courtesy of Simi.

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