Fresh from a life threatening stroke, gay activist and arguably Kenya’s top tier writer was given a dogs beating in Berlin, Germany. He cried like a baby, or so he says on his social media where he posted of the sad incident.
The Caine prize of African writing winner, Binyavanga Wainaina, was attending the Daad fellowship in Berlin, Germany- it the most prestigious of all writing fellowships in the world.
From the update that he put on social media, he says that he was still unwell and under medication. At the time he got the beat down, he was on the way to the airport- he needed to fly to Dar ees alaam, to see his lover.
He had been warned of riding a bicycle in Charlottenburg. A district in Germany predominantly occupied by Germans. The racist levels, he was told, were alarming. The Germans had killed four Ghanaian nationals the week before his visit.
War of an attack, he ditched his bike and called the cab company. When the cab came, he sat inside and started fumbling for directions- it was slow because he needed to pass by a clinic before going to the airport.
The cab driver, an irritable chap, was getting impatient with him and demanded that he hurries with his direction.
Wainaina was not in a hurry. He was paying after all. He would take his time, get his directions right then leave. The meter was counting, he would pay whatever amount.
The taxi driver, infuriated that the writer was taking too much time, walked to his door, dragged him by the cuff of his collar, tossed his suitcase to the curb and beat him black and blue.
Wainaina could neither keep up with the blows nor stop the tears flowing freely from his eyes. All the while, his neighbors in Charlottenburg watched the incident disinterestedly. From their balconies.
Wainaina came out as gay in 2014, becoming one of the world famous Kenyans to do so. Criticism and support came from all quarters, sometimes directed at the way he dressed, like a girl. Deputy President William Ruto criticized him a lot and bashed him. In the last two years, he has been the mouth piece of gay community in Kenya and he is considered a hero for coming out without fear.