Acclaimed Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina, who made waves when he came out as gay in 2014, has announced that he will marry his partner in South Africa next year.
A clearly love-struck Wainaina confirmed earlier this month on social media that he and his as-yet-unnamed boyfriend had gotten engaged.
“I asked my love for his hand in marriage two weeks ago,” wrote Wainaina on Facebook. “He said yes, nearly immediately. He is Nigerian. We will be living in South Africa, where he will be studying next year. We will get married there, early next year. We will have a reception for Kenyans in Nairobi some time next year too.”
Wainaina added: “Nothing has surprised me more than coming to love this person, who is gentle and has the most gorgeous heart. I consider myself hugely lucky that he loves me and I have only recently fallen in love with him, but we have known each other and have been dating on and off since 2012.”
South Africa is the only country on the continent in which same-sex marriage is legal. While Wainaina was flooded with congratulatory messages on social media after his announcement, he was also faced with some inevitable homophobia. The author was even threatened with death, with one individual commenting on the Punch website: “You will be stoned to death if I see you.”
One of the continent’s leading literary figures, Wainaina came out as gay through a semi-biographical short piece, titled I Am a Homosexual, Mum, in January 2014.
In April of that year, he was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World and was included among the globe’s leading artists. In 2016, Wainaina also revealed that he is living with HIV on Twitter on 1 December, World Aids Day, writing: “i am HiV Positive, and happy.”
Wainaina was born in Nakuru, Kenya, and later studied commerce at the University of Transkei in South Africa. His first book, a memoir entitled One Day I Will Write About This Place, was published in 2011 and was selected by Oprah Winfrey for her coveted book club.
In 2002, he won the Caine Prize for his short story Discovering Home. He has written for National Geographic, The Sunday Times (South Africa), the New York Times, Chimurenga magazine and The Guardian (UK).