Binyavanga Wainaina: Fallen writer remembered in colours and words

Binyavanga Wainaina resting on a couch. [Photo: Courtesy]
The 2002 Caine Literary prize winner and LGBT activist Binyavanga Wainaina died at his Langata home in Nairobi on Tuesday night after battling stroke.

The death of the 48-year-old writer, who declared being gay in 2014, has elicited reactions from Kenyans, international media and literature enthusiasts.

Social media users have remembered the “Discovering Home” satirical article author as a man who inspired people in the world of art and social life.

A Twitter user known as FNJ dropped lines of famous Binyavanga, when the latter compared Kenya's economy to Japan's: "I have learned that I, we, are a dollar-a-day people (which is terrible, they say, because a cow in Japan is worth $9 (Sh900) a day). Therefore, a Japanese cow would be a middle-class Kenyan…Massages are very cheap in Nairobi, so the cow would be comfortable."

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Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris joined those who took to the social media to mourn the departed writer. Passaris said that Binyavanga showed courage by going against the grain and revealing his sexual orientation.

Controversial blogger Cyprian Nyakundi also tweeted and tagged some photos of the deceased: “Kenyan author and Gay activist, Binyavanga Wainaina dead aged 48 years. He was the 2002 Caine Prize winner for African Writing. The family says he passed on Tuesday at 8:48 pm after a short illness. Rest Easy.”

The world of arts and literature also joined. Nigerian literary festival has hailed the writer as a literary icon who has left a big void.

“Our hearts weep; Africa has lost another literary giant. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Binyavanga Wainana; words cannot express how much of loss this is to all of us. Our brother, our friend, mentor and idol, farewell,” Abuja Literary and Arts Festival.

Text Book Centre Ltd also tweeted as follows:

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Another user, Nanjala Nyabola spilled secrets of a discussion with BBC on how the deceased could be remembered after living his life as a writer and LGBT activist.

BBC journalist Larry Madowo waded into the matter insinuating that the deceased may have been subjected to harsh societal treatment he did not deserve. And, that Wainaina was battling for a noble course.

Aside from the glowing tributes, pictures of the deceased that he took before and after declaring that he was gay in 2014 have equally gone viral.

 A lipsticked Binyavanga. [Courtesy]
In a dress. [Courtesy]
... and skirt. [Courtesy]

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LGBTBinyavanga WainainaCaine Literary prize winnerDead