Lupita Relives Family Pain After Watching Boniface Mwangi's Film

  • Lupita appears on the cover of Vanity Fair Magazine, September 2019 issue.
    Lupita appears on the cover of Vanity Fair Magazine, September 2019 issue.
    Vanity Fair
  • Oscar Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o on Thursday evening, December 3, said she had relived her family's painful memories after watching activist Boniface Mwangi's film documentary - Softie.

    On her social media pages, Lupita disclosed that being the child of a political activist was not easy as she witnessed her father being harassed on a number of incidences.

    "As the child of a political activist who witnessed their father being harassed and injured, who wondered when and if he would come home at night, the documentary has really moved me," Lupita stated.

    Boniface Mwangi with his wife Njeri Mwangi.
    Boniface Mwangi with his wife Njeri Mwangi.
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    Lupita's father, Prof Anyang' Nyong'o, was in the 1980s forced to seek political asylum in Mexico after his teachings at the University of Nairobi were deemed radical by the intolerant government of Kenya's Second President Daniel arap Moi. 

    Nyong'o's younger brother and Lupita's uncle, Charles, fell victim to the dictatorship after he was reportedly thrown off the Likoni Channel by state agents. His body has never been recovered. 

    "My brother disappeared in 1980. It was a very difficult time politically… Even now, no information has come to light. I know he was on a ferry in Mombasa and witnesses who I managed to talk to told me clearly that it was not an accident and he had been attacked and pushed off the ferry. 

    He was working for Esso at a time when I was in bad books with the Nyayo dictatorship. He was investigating theft at Esso when he stepped on important people’s toes…When I called for a public enquiry, (dreaded police reservist) Patrick Shaw told me: ‘be careful lest what happened to him happens to you,” Prof Nyong'o, now Kisumu Governor, recalled in a past interview. 

    Softie is based on Mwangi's real-life experience especially his audacious 2017 bid to run for the Starehe Constituency legislative office, under the Ukweli Party ticket. 

    Lupita encouraged individuals who were interested in democracy to watch the film, praising the film for its accuracy.

    "It is the incredible story about the activist and his journey to uncover the truth behind Kenya's disheartening politics and corrupt system. If you believe in a government for the people, by the people and of the people, this film is for you!" Lupita stated.

    The film won this year's Encounters South African International Documentary Festival held on August 31.

    "We are proud to be part of the group of African filmmakers who are pushing to give a voice to our stories," Sam Soko, the director, stated after the win.

    That was the second time the film won an award.

    It won during the 2020 Sundance Film Festival which took place from January 23 to February 2, 2020.

    Softie bagged the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing at the Sundance Film Festival, making it eligible for Oscars consideration.

    Boniface Mwangi on 5th October 2016 during protest against rampant corruption in the country.
    Boniface Mwangi on 5th October 2016 during a protest against rampant corruption in the country.
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