President Uhuru Kenyatta’s note to Lupita Nyong’o


I join millions of Kenyan and worldwide fans to congratulate and support Lupita Nyong’o as she confronts one of the biggest nights in her career so far. Lupita’s accomplishment testifies not only to her stupendous talent, but also determination and a willingness to go that extra mile which success unfailingly demands.

She has told one of the most haunting stories from a time when the black person was a mere chattel, to be disposed of at the will of an improvident white owner in transactions then recognised in law as legitimate.

The story of Solomon Northup begged to be broadcast to a postmodern world that is fast losing grasp of the proper context of the universal black experience. 12 Years A Slave is pivotal in sustaining the conversation that surely must take place throughout the world on the true meaning of humanity and dignity. This conversation is essential to unravelling such harrowing phenomena as discrimination, poverty, genocide and conflict which continue to obstruct human progress.

I am inestimably proud that Lupita, a young Kenyan had the opportunity to make her contribution to Black Awareness, and just to tell an excellent human story magnificently. Her role is indelible, and her gift indubitable. We are grateful that we got to see Lupita, one of our very own, shine so impeccably, and own the global stage so imperiously. Like other fans, I hope that Lupita wins the recognition that she so richly deserves for her scintillating role. I also believe that the fact that Lupita is where she is today -on the cusp of a truly unique accomplishment – is already a massively gratifying milestone.

The youth in Kenya are inspired by Lupita. We hope that her trailblazing exploits continue in order to demonstrate that no barrier to human endeavour is insurmountable.

My Government has made the promotion of Arts and Talent a key pledge that must be delivered. We have made progress in that regard, and many young Kenyans will have access to funding for artistic projects, including film and drama.

It is our intention that Lupita becomes the first of an endless line of Oscar nominees and winners from Africa and Kenya.

I therefore wish Lupita and her proud family all the best tonight. May this be the beginning of many splendid achievements.

(Uhuru Kenyatta is the President of the Republic of Kenya)

15 Replies to “President Uhuru Kenyatta’s note to Lupita Nyong’o”

  1. Thanks UK for acknowledging this great woman. We wish her all the best and even if she does not win that Oscar, we know she is worth it!!

  2. Thanks UK…. Lakini leo umetumia vocabulary zingine kali kali. I had to use a dictionary for the first time…… please relax ukiandika hizi speech.

  3. Friends,
    allow me to join this conversation from a different perspective. You
    may not agree with me yet I beg for your indulgence. I wish to express
    my personal reservations about what i consider to be a hulabaloo around
    Lupita’s success. I would have extremely celebrated if it was a
    different movie but this one? NO! I keep wondering why the directors
    could not find an actor of African American decent to play the role.
    Could it have been that Lupita unknowingly was being used because of her
    low level of Afrocentrism? I really suspect that this was the case. I
    basically consider the movie “12 Years a Slave” more in-dignifying than
    it is edifying to people of the African race.

    1. Mr. Gichira,

      Good actors do not have to have been whatever they portray in order to do it well. It’s like saying that those that act in a film about the moon-landing must first make an actual landing.

      1. Natty Dread, first, thank you for your decorum in this conversation. I expected people to be emotional but you proved that there still exists remnants of reason. However, you veered off my point. What I mean to ask is this. Can you envisage an IRA hunger striker or people who share his history acting in that particular role in such a film? or Better, can you envisage any person of the Jewish decent acting on a film where they are acting victims of the Nazi? That is what I wanted us to engage on. Following to such I was asking, could Lupita have been used to act that role because being an African devoid of the history of slavery, she would not identify with that role? This is simply academic and a question of asking ourselves whether we know what we get ourselves into regardless of the status or fame it is “purported” to represent. For instance Chinua Achebe would not accept some Prizes including the Nobel Prize for reasons. That is the line of thought here.

        1. Gichira, two questions here…first of all, does it really matter? And second, Is the background of the actress important in regards to the story, or is it more important for the story to be told? I think that Natty dread actualy addresses your question. In my opinion, the director was looking for good actors(resses) and chances are there are even very good black american actors who would have loved to do this part…but Lupita happenned to audition for it. Django was done by black americans by the way. And the second question…I would think it is more important to tell the story than to discuss why each actor was chosen and so on.

          1. In support of your points above, I totally believe that had an American actress done the role, it would have been extremely difficult to win an Oscar. Being from “outside” coupled with Lupita’s simplicity brought a freshness to the scene hard to ignore. However, Mr Gichira is questioning the mentality behind the making of the film. I believe what attracts even more is the very fact that it addresses slavery. Any other genre would simply have been ignored (remember the votes that determine the winner belong to the whites exclusively)….ask Eddie Murphy with the dancing Penguins!

    2. gichira is a lost sheep and from my point of view a tribalistic …by any case i started your name with a small letter to dignify u more..shame on you

      1. Talk of cognitive dissidence. No wonder IEBC, KDF, Jubilee, and I are to blame for the Karasani debacle last Friday!!” Tehehehehehe

    3. I think she is Afrocentric as they come. Remember she refused to attend Milan for their ignoring the black actors in 12 Years A Slave in their billboards. Then listen to her speech about Alek Wek and her hope to be also an inspiration.

  4. Great to acknowledge this great African talent. Thanks UK also for the efforts your government is putting forward to promote film and drama. This Oscar will truly inspire millions of young Africans worldwide.

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