RIP

Gay author Binyavanga Wainaina dies

In Summary

• Binyavanga died on Tuesday, May 21 at 10 pm after suffering a stroke.

• In July 2002 he won the Caine Prize for his short story “Discovering Home”.

Kenyan gay and author Binyavanga Wainaina.
Kenyan gay and author Binyavanga Wainaina.
Image: COURTESY

Popular Kenyan gay and author Binyavanga Wainaina is no more.

Binyavanga died on Tuesday, at 10 pm after suffering a stroke.

Binyavanga, who openly revealed that he was HIV positive in 2016, passed away aged 48.

 
 
 
 
 

Although details about his death are still scanty, Binyavanga was set to wed his Nigerian lover early this year. But he has been silent until his death.

Last year, he tweeted;

I asked my love for his hand in marriage two weeks ago. he said yes, nearly immediately. He is Nigerian. we will be living in South Africa, where he will be studying next year. We will get married there, early next year. We will have a reception for Kenyans in Nairobi sometime next year too. Nothing has surprised me more than coming to love this person, who is gentle and has the most gorgeous heart. I consider myself hugely lucky that he loves me and I have only recently fallen in love with him, but we have known each other and have been dating on and off since 2012.Kwani Magazine.

Popular Kenyan gay and author Binyavanga Wainaina is no more. See story https://bit.ly/2WmvgOM

In July 2002 he won the Caine Prize for his short story “Discovering Home”.

He was the founding editor of Kwani Magazine.

George Barasa, a Kenyan gay who is also HIV positive told the Star he was saddened by the news on Binyavanga's death.

"It's too much to handle. Last time I spoke to him was a couple of months ago, because of late he wasn't speaking to anyone," he said.

"He was to write me a book about my life but now everything is gone. It's really hard breaking moment. It came when we were just expecting for gay court ruling on Friday, and today we get the saddest news. I mean we can't have both news at the same time. What if tomorrow the ruling is negative? That would be a double tragedy for us."

He added, "His death was imminent because of the neglect and abuse he has been facing from the community and in the last few years he lived a hard life and at the same time he lived as who he wanted to be, so he was able to fulfil that wish except for getting married. I hope his death is going to create awareness the gay rights in Kenya and also to create awareness around HIV/AIDs and how it's affecting the gay people, particularly in Kenya."

Barasa applauded the late for standing for his rights and embracing Africanism.

"This is a chance to appreciate his life and challenges he faced and not just to look at the successes he made and we look at it in the African context that he lived like an African man. He went by his African names Wainaina. He removed his Christain name. He lived like a true African gay man," he said.

Many have eulogised the author and comments include;

Esther Marijen wrote, "Such a sad new, Binyavanga Wainana died last night. Time to re-read his great essay 'how to write about Africa'.

 
 
 

Ben Philips wrote, "So sad to hear that Binyavanga Wainaina has died aged just 48. But in those 48 years what gifts he gave the world. Here is his biting satire. How to Write About Africa. Rest in power."

 

Gidson posted, "Oh! it is saddening that Binya has left us, he inspired me a lot and I can't believe it's just the other day he was with Jeff on TV..... The lessons we learn on the succinctness of life."

 

Whitney Ogutu said, "Rest easy Binyavanga."

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