Oscar Winner Lupita Nyong’o Is ‘the Pride of Africa’

Mar 3, 2014 3:55pm

Celebrations were everywhere today in Kenya, after their own hometown girl, Lupita Nyong’o, took home the prize for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars.Preview Changes

Nyong’o, born in Mexico but raised in Nairobi, comes from a prominent Kenyan political family. She gave a shout-out to her roots with her dazzling Prada Oscar dress, calling it “Nairobi Blue.”

The “12 Year’s a Slave” actress made headlines across the continent, including in Nigeria and South Africa, as the first Kenyan and second African woman to win an Academy Award. South African Charlize Theron was named Best Actress in 2003 for her role in “Monster.”

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(Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta tweeted his congratulations, calling her “the Pride of Africa.” Kenyatta also issued an official statement praising the Kenyan actress. In keeping with the African tradition of honoring community elders, Kenyatta congratulated Nyong’o's parents as well for their role in her achievement.

“Excellence inspires and deserves emulation. Lupita reminds us of all that is possible for the youth of this nation when they set their hearts and minds to a great task — in her own words, ‘No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.’ We, their parents, must take these words to heart; ours is to help our young people fulfill their potential,” the statement reads.

Kenyatta announced that in Nyong’o's honor, his administration will establish new opportunities for the arts, such as a new Kenya film school.

It’s been a banner year for African actors in Hollywood. Barkhad Abdi, who originally hails from Somalia was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of a Somali pirate in “Captain Phillips,” his first acting role. British born Chiwetel Ejiofor, who played the lead character Solomon Northup in “12 Years a Slave,” was up for Best Actor. Ejiofor’s parents are from Nigeria, where he spent much of his childhood.

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