2021 QUEER WARRIOR – KEVIN MWACHIRO

A part of the African dream and our new rising

By Himself

Kevin Mwachiro is a writer, journalist, podcaster, and gay activist.  In October 2015, he added cancer fighter, to that list, as he was diagnosed with the blood cancer, Multiple Myeloma. 

In December 2017, Kevin launched a storytelling podcast, Nipe Story (Tell Me a Story) that gives a voice to short-stories from the Kenya and the continent. “As a child I loved listening to the spoken word. I would tune into a story-telling programme on radio and I enjoyed the way it took me to new worlds. I hope Nipe Story will help people create beautiful pictures in their heads.”

Kevin Mwachiro published his first book “Invisible: Stories from Kenya’s Queer Community” published by the Goethe Institute in Nairobi in 2014. This is a collection of stories, letters and poems about the triumphs and challenges of living as LGBTQ in Kenya. He was also part of the editorial team that produced the HIVOS supported journal, Boldly Queer

Kevin Mwachiro wrote his first play which was part of the Goethe Institut’s “Six and the City” .A multi-faceted artist, Kevin is also a Poet  and he contributed to the Pan-African LBGTI anthology, Walking The Tightrope.  His short story, Number Sita was published in 2020 in the anthology Nairobi Noir, this is part of Akaschic’s Books, Noir Series. 

Kevin is a co-founder of the Out Film Festival which is first LGBTI film festival in East Africa. Working in collaboration with the Gay Kenya Trust and the Goethe Institut – Nairobi. For Kevin, the festival, “is a way of opening up our stories to ourselves and the wider community.”  

He currently serves on the boards of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK, an LGBQ coalition), PEMA Kenya (a grassroots LGBQTI+ organisation), and Amnesty International – Kenya.

Kevin and a colleague from Kenya, represented their country at the 2018 Paris Gay Games. The first Kenyans to fly the flag at the sport spectacle.  In July this year, he was mentioned in Vogue Magazine as one of the LGBTIQ+ activist making an impact on the continent. 

Prior to embarking on his solo career, he worked in development communications for AWARD (African Women in Agricultural and Research Development) a Kenya based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), and HIVOS, a Dutch NGO based in Nairobi.  Kevin loves radio and worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)  for close to six years.  He loves to tell peoples stories and radio gave him the opportunity to talk about “a continent that I love, and a people who are beautiful and resilient.”  He says of that time, “The BBC helped build me and become a good reporter and a thoughtful journalist, and I am grateful for that.”   

Following his cancer diagnosis, Kevin uses his profile to champion for greater awareness of the disease in the country. 

Kevin enjoys finding his place as a storyteller be it as a writer, podcaster, journalist, public speaker, and activist.  He expresses his hope of, “continue dreaming and helping others learn about, their dreams, this amazing African continent and sharing its peoples’ stories.  I embrace my African queerness and celebrate it and I hope my work will help amplify the various stories that are birthed from this continent. Utu and ubuntu, our humanness needs to be celebrated, and more so our Afro-queerness must to be normalised and given its rightful place on the continent.  This is my way of being part of the African dream and our new rising.”

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