Sunday night on Twitter with Binyavanga Wainaina
Africa is a Country | April 9th, 2014


We sometimes joke that often when we’re online the only other person who’s consistently awake and on Twitter (no matter where he is in the world) is Binyavanga Wainaina. It’s like, if you blink, you miss out on some pronouncement by him. Though he has been an active social media user for a while now, it was really after he came out on January 18th that he went into overdrive. And you can’t look away. There is no one else addressing Africa, Africans and their relations to the West in such blistering form right now. Take Sunday night when–from a hotel balcony in Dakar where he was sampling some fine cheeses (he was in town on assignment for Chimurenga’s Chronic) –he  went on Twitter to tweet out what amounts to an essay on development workers, Nairobi and Dakar’s middle classes, terrorism, Uhuru Kenyatta and books (with digressions into other stuff, including a memorable recording of a Kenyan “Elvis” performing “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” at the Goat Derby at Ngong Racecourse in Nairobi: “Ngai. Holy Shit! this is great! the goat race! the music!). Because at some point we had to go to bed, we asked if someone could storify the tweets. Aaron Leaf, an Africa is a Country contributor, kindly indulged us, for which we are very grateful. We’ve embedded the tweets below — Binyavanga, from his balcony in Dakar, to the world. Read, enjoy, retweet liberally.

Photo Credit: Ben Curtis

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One thought on “Sunday night on Twitter with Binyavanga Wainaina

  1. There were also these gems on development-think, and NGO Tourism:

    Observation Part 1:
    Nanjala Writes ‏‪@Nanjala1‬ ‬reminds 
‪@BinyavangaW‬: When I did KCSE we were still being taught about Delamare brought dairy farming to Kenya.

    ‏‪@BinyavangaW‬ ‬quickly reminds 
‪@Nanjala1‬: he invented milking. and ranching. Africans were just dancing naked unhusbanding cattle.

    Observation Part 2:
    Binyavanga Wainaina ‏‪@BinyavangaW‬ ‬So comical. Dakar, Nairobi full of young jobless americans looking for an adventure coz the action is here

    Binyavanga Wainaina ‏‪@BinyavangaW‬ ‬grass-roots organising for young Western Volunteers to Africa. Starter-pack: ‪ …‬

    dear western grass-roots cmty volunteers 4 Africa: “use glyphosate herbicide 2 kill all signs of living plant life. ‪ …‬

managing grass-rootsP: “water area frequently, reapply indiscriminate herbicide 2 kill any weeds that sprout, pull weeds as they come in.”

    “When it is time for your first mowing, your grassroots community will still seem extremely thin and fragile.”

    “After 2 weeks, Kentucky bluegrass will start coming up, ur African grassroots community will look thicker. Run ur mower over.”

    Binyavanga Wainaina ‏‪@BinyavangaW‬ ‬Sit down someday with Ngugi or Ama Ata Aidoo and ask her about her adventures. While building ur little yoga-studio in the back.

    While asking the natives to “peel off the pity face please […] Or we will double our per diem demands for self-help afternoons.

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