Being a columnist is not very easy. Sometimes you just feel like so much has been said about a topic and you will add nothing by commenting. But just as you plan to find something else to write, your inner voice convinces you that actually, your readers would like you to join the chorus.
Therefore due to public demand or precisely my annoying inner voice, here is something about Lupita Nyong’o. If you do not know her, please do not say this loudly as you will be judged. I mean how on earth can you justify your existence when you do not know who Lupita Nyong’o is?
I do not think she still needs an introduction but for the sake of those who were on vacation and just returned to civilisation the other day, she is an Oscar winning actress for her role in the movie, 12 Years a Slave.
Her father with his trademark bushy beard is a product of Makerere University and no stranger to the limelight. He was a guild president of Makerere in the 70s. He is a former minister of health in Kenya, a long serving secretary general of Kenya’s biggest political party and is currently serving as the Senator of Kisumu County.
Back to Lupita, we have heard so much about how smart she is, how she dresses so well, how she is very beautiful, her hairstyle, her well toned arms and so much more. Even her speeches about the meaning of beauty and the famous Oscar ceremony quote about how ‘no matter where you are from, your dreams are valid’ are now common knowledge.
It is also true that success has many fathers and many have and will continue to make a link with Lupita. We've seen it all before. When Barack Obama came to the scene, he was owned by the Kenyans, especially the Luos with many even claiming to be his cousin, including one politician in Kenya. Anyone who had interacted with Obama’s father found space in the newspapers.
It is now the Lupita moment and her father, Prof. Anyang Nyong’o, is now better known around the world as Lupita’s father and not the bright fellow from Makerere who taught in universities in Mexico, US and many other places. In one moment, his academic and political credentials have been shelved to create space for his Hollywood attachment.
I have heard some people saying that the ‘Lupita noise’ should stop so they can move on. Move on? Are these not the same people who talk about Christiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney every weekend sparing other days to say something about Beyonce and Jay Z? Please let Lupita enjoy her moment. It’s not every day that an African girl springs from almost nowhere to the peak of show business.
Speaking of her rise, I got to learn that on her way to greatness Lupita featured in a short film shot in Kampala in 2006 as part of the annual Maisha Film Lab. In the film called Roho, Lupita played the role of a girl friend to a Judah (Samuel Ibanda).
Samuel Ibanda was my classmate in my O level and since he has acted with Lupita, I hereby announce that I also know Lupita. Yes that is the closest connection I have to East Africa’s most famous girl right now.
However, on a more serious note, I would love to see a more decentralised Lupita that we can all get in contact with. Many of us may never get the chance to be in her presence for that treasured ‘selfie’ moment.
That said, I am looking forward to seeing babies named Lupita being born all over East Africa. This should not be very difficult since I have heard of weird examples like Larry King Live Otieno (for those born around the advent of CNN on Kenyan screens).
I want to see her name and face on matatus in Nairobi and Kigali (especially Nyamirambo). That way one can say they used Lupita to come from Embakasi to Nairobi city centre for example.
And how about beauty parlours named Lupita where ladies can go and tell the stylist that they want a ‘Lupita’ hair cut. Nothing cements all her fame better than naming a road after her. If we fete Lupita the way Ugandans did with Kiprotich we shall send a strong message to inspire many others to believe that their dreams are valid as well.