Lupita Nyong'o's dad was harassed, arrested in Kenya

  • IANS, Los Angeles
  • |
  • Updated: Mar 18, 2014 15:15 IST

Actress Lupita Nyong'o accepts the outstanding supporting actress in a motion picture award for the film 12 Years a Slave during the 45th NAACP Image Awards in Pasadena, California. (Reuters) 

Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o's father said that his family was constantly harassed because of his dedication to promote democracy in their native Kenya.

Her father, politician and academic Peter Anyang' Nyong'o, has revealed for the first time the extent of the threats he and his family got as he supported an underground democratic party.

Upon their return to the African country in 1987 after several years in exile in Mexico, the family had to constantly move to ensure their safety.

Nyong'o said, "It was a very insecure time. We were moving from one place to another, which was not good for Lupita and (her brother) Peter Jr. I was being picked up (arrested) monthly and weekly. It would depend on the period. It was as often as they wanted. It was mainly psychological for me, although it was physical for others. You could not wash for days, you were harassed, threatened, you couldn't sleep and it becomes unbearable."

He added, "We were traumatised. The children were too young to understand, and it would not have been advisable to explain because you could be causing them unnecessary trauma."

The actress, who wowed critics and audiences in her Academy Award-winning role in 12 Years a Slave, has regularly mentioned her uncle on the awards season circuit, dedicating her Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Supporting Actress win to her late relative.

It soon emerged that Nyong'o's beloved uncle Charles disappeared in 1980. It is believed he was murdered due to his opposition to then Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi's regime.


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