Kenyan President Calls Lupita Nyong'o "Pride of Africa"

The Oscar winner has made her native country proud.

Posted: 03/04/2014 09:45 AM EST
Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong'o is a Hollywood it-girl, an Oscar winner and now the "pride of Africa," according to Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta. Not surprisingly, Nyong'o has been the subject of a media frenzy in her native country, with Kenya's most notable citizens singing her praises.

At a conference at the United Nations headquarters in Nairobi, more than 300 people broke out into applause after Wanjira Maathai — the daughter of the late Kenyan Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai — mentioned her mother and Nyong’o in the same sentence.

“We all had hoped, of course, that she would win. Everybody feels a sudden attachment to her, she’s a Kenyan woman,” Maathai said in an interview later. “A lot of her work, a lot of her experience in film started in Kenya.” 

Nyong’o, 31, was born in Mexico to Kenyan parents but was mostly raised in Kenya. She is the first person from the African country to take home an Academy Award. In her acceptance speech, Nyong'o movingly reminded “every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”

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(Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

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