Tributes have flooded social media following the death of award-winning Kenyan writer, Binyavanga Wainaina.
Wainaina, who was born on January 18, 1971 in Nakuru, Kenya and received his education at Mang’u High School, University of Transkei and Lenana School, died on Tuesday at 10pm in Nairobi, reportedly after suffering a stroke.
In July 2002 he won the Caine Prize for his short story Discovering Home and his other published books include, How to Write about Africa in 2006 and One Day I will Write about this Place in 2012.
Wainana came out publicly in 2014 in Kenya as a homosexual where laws still criminalise homosexual behaviour. He also revealed he was HIV-positive.
In 2014 in an interview with the Associated Press he said, "All people have dignity. There’s nobody who was born without a soul and a spirit. Everyone, we, we homosexuals, are people and we need our oxygen to breathe."
Wainaina dyed his hair in rainbow colours and was a vocal advocate against anti-homosexual laws in Nigeria and Uganda. He also criticised Russian President Vladimir Putin, who promoted legislation banning "gay propaganda" aimed at youth.
Also in 2014, Time magazine named him one of the "100 most influential people."
The writer’s death comes just days before a long-awaited court ruling in Kenya on Friday on whether to abolish laws that criminalise homosexual behaviour. Kenyan laws, like in many other African countries that outlaw same-sex relations, are vestiges of British colonial rule.
Among the thousands of tributes that poured in for the writer, IFT Theatre tweeted, "A Brilliant Mind. A huge loss. .." Jared Staller tweeted, "Posting this in honor of Binyavanga Wainaina’s death yesterday in Kenya. RIP sir. And thanks for helping me open American students’ eyes to their own biases with wit and irony, which is far more effective than any lecture or twitter debate." while Bola Mosuro tweeted, "So sad to hear about the death of Binyavanga Wainaina. One of Africa’s, not just Kenya’s finest writers. Your sharp, witty and blunt speaking will be missed. RIP brother."