22 May 2019

Kenya: Glowing Tributes Flow in for Binyavanga Wainaina

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Binyavanga Wainaina

Prominent Kenyans, including fellow writers, have flooded social media with messages of condolences to the family of the late Binyavanga Wainaina, who died on Tuesday night in hospital after suffering a stroke.

Friends and gay activists from around the world also wrote glowing tributes to the prolific author, remembering him for his boldness, work and contribution to the society.

In his lifetime Mr Wainaina never shied off controversy after making headlines in 2014 when he revealed that he was gay.

One of his many achievements however was when he scooped the 2002 Caine Prize for African writing in his short story Discovering Home.

Below are some of the tributes shared by friends on social media.

"What immense talent; what an enormous personality; a child of luck who beckoned opportunities like a magnet, Binya leaves an indelible foot-print in the sands of that surge of creativity and production that defined Kenya in the new millennium." - cultural commentator and author, Dr Joyce Nyairo

"REST well, my clever FRIEND. Although FLABBERGASTED by your NEW IDENTITY, I got to CELEBRATE your DIFFERENTNESS. You did NOT have to VALIDATE your REALITY to ANYONE. If ELOHIM the ALMIGHTY created you as is, MAY you REST in the BOSSOM of ABRAHAM! #RIPBinyavanga," - political analyst, Mutahi Ngunyi

"Rest in Power, Binyavanga Wainana. You were a great story teller, in person, and in your writing. When the door opened for your career, you kept it open for all the creatives who came after you. There is Kenya creative economy before and after Binya. #RIPBinyavanga," - Human rights activist, Boniface Mwangi.

"He invited me to Lukenya, my first ever writers' retreat. That was in 2006. And he published my poem, Al Qaeda, in Kwani? Goodnight Creative soul, Goodnight! #RIPBinyavanga," - writer, Nambozo Nsengiyunva.

"The controversial author, who has written To Grasp at a Star among other works, posted a short comment on Facebook to mourn a fellow writer." - author, Kingwa Kamencu

"We have lost a refined writer and thinker. The last time I interacted with him was at KBC Books Cafe. I also had very interesting conversation with him in the press that led to my coinage of the expression "Literary gangsters" which I used to refer to a group of young Kenyan writers under Kwani logo and who have been doing great things." - veteran lecturer and literary critic, Egara Kabaji

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