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 after he came out on January 18th, that he has gone into overdrive. And you can’t look away. No one else we know, talking about Africans and their relations to the West (not on Western terms), is in such blistering form right now. Take Sunday night when–from a hotel balcony in Dakar; he was in town to give a lecture–he just went in
Binyavanga Wainaina’s coming out last week was seen as a ‘bombshell’ by a wide range of media, including the New York Times, and Kenya’s Daily Nation. Certainly it was cheered by many, both publicly and privately, as courageous and timely. The question is: Will it inspire other prominent Africans to also come out of the closet? While Binyavanga’s welcome bombshell may change some attitudes, it won’t change enough. We will need many more prominent Africans to come out of the closet if we really want to see assumptions and prejudices of the homophobic majority start to shift and shatter.