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Ken Wiwa - Obituary

Ken Wiwa


Obituary: Ken Wiwa (Kenule Bornale Tsaro-Wiwa), writer and campaigner, born 28 November 1968; died 18 October 2016

Ken Wiwa, who has died aged 47 after a stroke, was a journalist and author, adviser to three Nigerian presidents and a campaigner for social and environmental justice. As the eldest son of the poet, human rights activist and author Ken Saro-Wiwa, he struggled as a young man to forge his own identity. But following his father’s detention on a trumped-up accusation of murder, “Ken Junior”, as he was widely known, became a powerful advocate for peace and reconciliation, keeping the territory of Ogoniland on the world stage as a symbol of the injustice of oil exploitation in developing countries.

Born in Lagos, Ken was sent from Nigeria to Britain, along with his mother, Maria, and four siblings, and studied at Tonbridge School in Kent. He had a complicated relationship with his wealthy anglophile father, a traditional Ogoni leader who had worked for both the Nigerian federal and state governments post-independence in 1960, but who devoted his later life to a struggle for Ogoni autonomy – and to fighting Shell’s presence in his homeland. 

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