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LGBTQ rights activist in Kenya has died after a short illness at the age of 48

Binyavanga Wainaina was one of the first Kenyans to publicly come out

2019-05-22

Words: Steve Brown

An LGBTQ rights activist in Kenya has died after a short illness at the age of 48.

Binyavanga Wainaina was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2014 and was one of the first Kenyans to publicly come out and said at the time he ‘felt an obligation to chip away at the shame’.

He was set to marry his long-time partner in South Africa and the announcement reportedly divided opinion in Kenya where gay sex is still illegal.

Wainaina won the Caine Prize for African writing back in 2002 and was best known for his satirical essay ‘How to Write About Africa’.

The author and activist suffered a stroke in 2015.

His brother, James Wainaina, told the BBC that his family will be celebrating his life and said: “We are in a life celebration mood.

“We’re looking at this from a human level; it’s a human story. Allow that humanness to shine, people are hurting.”