Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta led Kenyans in celebrating the Oscar victory of Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o. She won the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ award for her role in the movie ’12 Years a Slave.’
Kenyatta in a twitter message told Nyong’o: “You are the pride of Africa.”
On Sunday, the day of the Oscars, Kenyatta issued a statement saying Lupita’s accomplishment testifies not only to her talent but also her determination and willingness to go that extra mile which success unfailingly demands.
Social media sites Facebook and Twitter are awash with congratulatory messages from Kenyans for Nyong’o. Kenyan film director and critic Ogova Ondego, while celebrating the win of Nyong’o, criticized Kenya’s government and people for not supporting the arts.
The slavery drama had already won numerous other awards but on Sunday, it made history as the first movie from a black director to win the film industry’s highest honor in 86 years of the Oscars.
The story line
’12 Years a Slave,’ depicts with harrowing realism the true story of a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery before the US Civil War.
The black odd jobs man and violinist brought to life by British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor was living a peaceful life in Saratoga Springs, New York with his wife and children when he was kidnapped in 1841.
He was then sold to Louisiana farmers. Twelve years would pass before he could prove his status as a free man, with the help of a Canadian abolitionist played by Brad Pitt, who also produced the film.
In accepting the award Nyong’o, 31, paid homage to her character, who picked more cotton than anyone else but suffered at the hands of her abusive evil master.
“It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s, and so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey, for her guidance,” a tearful Nyong’o told the audience.
Kenyans full of praises for Lupita Nyong’o
DW correspondent in Nairobi James Shimanyula, caught up with ordinary Kenyans who couldn’t hide their excitement at Lupita’s success.
“I saw people like Lupita coming at the Kenyan National Theatre and working with various groups as a young girl,” said 52 year-old Jacob Otieno, an actor for more than 35 years.
“One thing I would like to credit Lupita and this is not flattery; she was a hard working person, diligent and keen on what she was doing,” Otieno added.
Sandra Adacha an actress in her early twenties joined other Kenyan women who had openly told local FM Radio Stations that they were jealous of Lupita’s success.
“I am also jealous because she is a woman and she is an actress like me. She is from Kenya and getting an Oscar is a big challenge and I feel bad and proud of her at the same time,” she said.
Njeri Thembi who’s been acting for the last four years had no kind words for those envious of Lupita’s success.
“If you are jealous that is your own problem because it is not stopping her [Lupita] from the Oscar,” she said,” be happy of other people’s victory and if you are jealous enough just work harder to get there.”
Joel Kariuki, a university student couldn’t understand why so many women were jealous of Lupita.
“You know women, are their worst own enemies. They should embrace how men, us men live we are happy with each others success,” he said.