Kaye Whiteman was born in London, grew up in Essex and was educated at Queen’s College, Oxford, graduating with a degree in history in 1959. During his studies he developed a keen interest in Africa and in particular the process of decolonisation. In 1963 he joined the staff of West Africa magazine, visiting Nigeria the following year as deputy editor.
He reported on the Nigerian civil war of 1967-70 and was present when the Biafran general Philip Effiong surrendered to General Yakubu Gowon. In 1982 he became editor-in-chief of West Africa magazine.
Kaye Whiteman possessed an encyclopaedic knowledge of African politics and society and met most of the African leaders from the independence era. In London, Kaye was a researcher for both the Centre of African Studies at the School of Oriental and Chatham House.
Affectionately thought of by many Nigerians as a “Lagos Boy”, Kaye Whiteman sadly died in May 2014, before Lagos: City of the Imagination was published.