Literary Circle

“Go Make Heaven a Tolerant Place” – Eulogies Pour in for Binyavanga Wainaina

Binyavanga Wainaina TEDx, Binyavanga Wainaina eulogies
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Binyavanga Wainaina, the internationally renowned writer and activist, whose coming out in sternly anti-LGBT country Kenya cemented his status as the beacon of gay rights in Africa, passed on two days ago, aged 48.

Binya burst into literary prominence with the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2002. He then went on to publish One Day I Will Write About This Place (Graywolf Press) in 2012. One Day I Will Write About This Place, a memoir, which he wrote in striking and spectacularly descriptive language, earned several prestigious recognitions including New York Times Notable Book, New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, and Publishers Weekly Top Ten Book of the Year.  Oprah Winfrey also selected One Day I Will Write About This Place for her book club making it an instant bestseller.


As much as Binyavanga Wainana loved to write compelling prose, his passion for building others up also burned bright. He is famously known for his works with Kwani?, a Kenyan literary magazine published by his brainchild Kwani Trust.  With Kwani Trust, mentored many writers who have gone on to be celebrated authors.

Binyavanga Wainaina’s celebrated 2005 essay “How to Write About Africa”, was a witty, sarcastic and hilarious lesson to journalists and historians. In it, he called for an upheaval of the too-common clichés and urged for more nuanced reportage and storytelling.

Binyavanga lived and died a beacon of activism to queer people in a hostile Africa. Sadly, he died just days before Kenya’s High Court was expected to deliver a long-awaited ruling on whether to abolish anti-gay laws. Eulogies have poured in from all corners of social media.

May Binyavanga rest in perfection.

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