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(c) Basso Cannarsa—LUZ/Redux

(c) Basso Cannarsa—LUZ/Redux

Time Magazine shared it’s 100 Most Influential People list today and Wainaina Binyavanga makes the list alongside other controversial figures in politics and the arts from around the world.
Chimamanda Adichie, a very close friend of the Kenyan novelist, writes the accompanying tribute.

By the time he was 10 years old, Binyavanga Wainaina knew he was gay. But he lived in Kenya, a country that demonized homosexuality. And so for years he pretended to be what he was not. In December 2012, his friend — a fellow gay man who had also spent his life mired in pretense — got sick. Even as he lay dying, he could not tell his family that he was sick. His death broke Binyavanga’s spirit.

The best-known Kenyan writer of his generation, he felt an obligation to chip away at the shame that made people like his friend die in silence.

By publicly and courageously declaring that he is a gay African, Binyavanga has demystified and humanized homosexuality and begun a necessary conversation that can no longer be about the “faceless other.”

— Chimamanda Adichie

 

Photo via time.com

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

2 Responses to “Adichie’s Tribute to Binyavanga in Time’s 100 Most Influential People List” Subscribe

  1. Catherine Onyemelukwe 2014/04/26 at 13:45 #

    I love Adichie’s tribute to the the Kenyan writer who’s had the courage to declare that he is gay. How brave of him and how good of her to let us know about his speaking out.

    And glad to find Brittle Paper, which I’ve signed up to follow.

  2. Ainehi Edoro 2014/04/26 at 15:04 #

    Thanks Catherine!

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