Back in 2019, LGBTQ+ rights campaigners challenged the Kenyan High Court to overturn a law that bans gay sex and makes it punishable by up to 14 years in prison. While they were unsuccessful, attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community have been softening within the country itself, especially among the younger generations, thanks to a growing list of well-known young Kenyans who are deciding to bravely come out as gay or lesbian.
Another voice to add to this list is musician Chimano, a member of Sauti Sol, one of Africa’s biggest male bands. The LGBTQ+ community applauds Chimano’s openness surrounding his sexuality, which is seen as an encouragement for LGBTQ+ individuals in Kenya who are shunned by their families and forced to live clandestine lives.
“Young people are saluting him and are seeing him as an icon who comes out to celebrate his life and his sexuality. It’s a good thing, it shows our diversity as a country,” gay activist Kevin Mwachiro tells the BBC.
In the wake of his coming out, Chimano released a solo single called Friday Feeling, which he tells The Standard is “a true representation of who he is,” adding that it is “the first time [he] is expressing [himself] in a song. You really get to know who Chimano is and that is a heavy crown to carry. It is just a representation of the underground ballroom culture within the queer community.”