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date: 22 September 2020

Nyong’o, Lupita locked

(1983– ), actress,
  • Jeremy Rich

Extract

was born on 1 March 1983 in Mexico City, Mexico. Her father, Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, was a politician who opposed the authoritarian regime of David arap Moi in Kenya. He had previous been the former Kenyan minister of health. When his brother vanished, Nyong’o’s father fled his homeland with his wife, Dorothy. They relocated to Mexico, where Anyan’ Nyong’o worked as a political science professor. To honor their temporary refuge, Nyong’o’s parents named their second child Lupita. The name is a diminutive form of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Catholic patroness of Mexico. Within a year the Nyong’o family returned to Kenya, where the University of Nairobi hired her father to teach political science. She attended a primary school in Nairobi.

Around 1991 or 1992 Nyong’o was inspired to act by the film The Color Purple based on the novel by African American writer Alice Walker Later Nyong o ...

A version of this article originally appeared in The Dictionary of African Biography.

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