Ken Wiwa

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Kenule "Ken" Bornale Tsaro-Wiwa[1] (28 November 1968 – 18 October 2016), also known as Ken Saro-Wiwa, Jr, was a Nigerian journalist and author. As of 2013, he served as an aide to President Goodluck Jonathan as senior special assistant on civil society and international media.


Wiwa was born in Lagos, the eldest son of Nigerian human rights activist and author Ken Saro-Wiwa.[2] He was educated in Nigeria and at Stancliffe Hall School and Tonbridge School in England, and then at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of University College, London. He was editor of the United Kingdom's Guardian′s periodical New Media Lab, where he developed content for the paper's online edition.


Wiwa relocated to Canada in 1999, where he was a writer-in-residence at Massey College in the University of Toronto, Saul Rae Fellow at the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto,[2] a mentor at the Trudeau Foundation[2] in Canada and a columnist for The Globe and Mail,[2] where he was twice nominated for National Newspaper Awards for feature writing.[3]

Wiwa addressed the European Union, Oxford Union and spoke at a number of colleges and universities, including Harvard University, McGill University and the University of Cambridge. He served as a conference rapporteur at a United Nations meeting on cultural diversity. A regular commentator on major news channels including CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, he appeared as a guest on Hard Talk and Newsnight.

In 2005 he was selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader.[2] He was the founding curator of the Abuja Hub for the Globalshapers Programme of the World Economic Forum and has also served on the Africa Advisory Council of the Prince of Wales Rainforest Project.[4] He has written for The Guardian in the UK,[2][4] and the Washington Post, The New York Times and National Geographic, in the United States'. He served as an editor-at-large for Arise Magazine and contributed occasional columns for magazines, newspapers and blogs.

Wiwa produced and narrated television and radio documentaries for the BBC and CBC,[2][4] and wrote commentaries for National Public Radio. His memoir of his father, In the Shadow of a Saint, won the 2002 Hurston-Wright Nonfiction Award.[4]

Special Assistant[edit]

In 2005 he returned to Nigeria, and the following year former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Wiwa as his special assistant on peace, conflict resolution and reconciliation. He served President Umaru Yar'Adua as special assistant on international affairs.


Wiwa died suddenly in London on 18 October 2016,[5] aged 47, after suffering a stroke.[6]


  1. ^ "Ken Wiwa". Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Trudeau Foundation: Ken Wiwa (accessed 17 February 2015).
  3. ^ Geoffrey York, "Nigerian author, political activist Ken Wiwa dies", The Globe and Mail, 19 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d World Economic Forum: Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr (accessed 17 February 2015).
  5. ^ "Breaking: Ken Saro-Wiwa’s son is dead", Vanguard (Nigeria), 18 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Son of Nigeria's Ken Saro-Wiwa dies", BBC News, 19 October 2016.

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