Binyavanga Wainaina: “If you donate to Oxfam, don’t buy my book”

The Times of London
Iconoclastic and bitingly funny, Binyavanga Wainaina turns clichés about Africa on their head. Tristan McConnell meets him in Nairobi


Into the groove: Binyavanga Wainaina at home in Nairobi (Times photographer, Tugela Ridley)

The door is open. Inside the apartment eviscerated suitcases lie on the floor. Mugs and glasses, books and an iPad clutter the dining table. Yesterday’s socks and shoes are dumped by the sofa. In the open-plan kitchen among half-unpacked shopping bags and a stack of unwashed plates stands a stocky, barrel-bellied man with orange and blue-striped hair wearing a towel.

“Sorry!” Binyavanga Wainaina calls out cheerfully. Continue reading Binyavanga Wainaina: “If you donate to Oxfam, don’t buy my book”

Hunger for peace

Mogadishu, Somalia

It was a fairly typical day in Mogadishu: from first light automatic rifle fire could be heard and it was soon joined by heav- ier machine guns and then mortars and artillery. By late afternoon there was a cacophony of booms, bangs and explo- sions yet my host insisted this was “a quiet day”. It’s been like this for the best part of 20 years, civil war rendering Mogadishu a monument to humanity’s determined capacity for destruction. Continue reading Hunger for peace