Famous Kenyan Writer and Gay Rights Activist, Binyavanga Wainaina Dies at 48

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SWITZERLAND, MAY 21 – Kenyan writer and Caine Prize winner, Binyavanga Wainaina, who is famous for his advocacy for gay rights, has died at the age of 48, after suffering from stroke since 2015.

He was one of Africa’s most celebrated authors and among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2014.

According to the BBC, Wainaina lived a colourful life. He was one of the first Kenyans to openly declare he was gay, which drew the ire of many Africans.

Last year he announced plans to marry his long-time partner at a wedding in South Africa.

This led to praise and criticism in his homeland, Kenya, where gay marriage is illegal.

He was equally loved and loathed for his bravery. In 2014 when he came out, Time Magazine named him among the world’s 100 most influential people.

Two years later, he declared he was HIV positive and happy.

He will be remembered for his outspokenness, activism, as well has his literary work, which won him global recognition.

Meanwhile, Wainana’s brother has said that his family wants to celebrate his life, after the acclaimed Kenyan author died on Tuesday night following a short illness.

“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,” his brother James told the BBC’s Peter Mwangangi.

“He passed on last night at a hospital after a period of really fighting. But it is what it is now, we’re still trying to come to terms with that,” he added.

James said although news of his brother’s death is already in the public domain, the family is still trying to inform those who may not know.

James said Binyavanga had not been in good health over the last few years and his condition had worsened in the last two to three months.

He said he would not delve into the details of his brother’s illness.

James said his family was hopeful that Binyavanga would recover but that did not happen despite the efforts of doctors.

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