A scene from the film Rafiki. | Photo: Awali Entertainment Ltd
A Kenyan director has sued her home country’s government seeking to lift the ban on her movie featuring a lesbian couple.
Rafiki, which means ‘friend’ in Swahili, premiered at the Cannes film festival last April. It was the first Kenyan film to do so.
However, the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) banned the movie due to its homosexual story line.
The director Wanuri Kahiu would love to see her movie as the Kenyan entry for Best Foreign Film at the next Academy Awards.
Nonetheless, the movie needs to be released in Kenya before 30 September in order to do so. That is why Kahiu lodged the suit against KFCB chief Ezekiel Mutua and the country’s attorney general.
The ban on the Kenyan movie
In a tweet published upon the movie’s Cannes debut, KFCB announced the board had restricted it because of ‘its homosexual theme and clear intent to promote lesbianism’.
They also said that anyone in possession of the movie ‘will be in breach of the law’.
‘Rafiki’ should NOT be distributed, exhibited or broadcast within the Republic of Kenya. Anyone found in its possession will be in breach of the law.#KFCBbansLesbianFilm
— KFCB (@InfoKfcb) April 27, 2018
‘Rafiki should NOT be distributed, exhibited or broadcast within the Republic of Kenya,’ they finally declared.
Kenya does not recognize same-sex couples. Moreover, sodomy is a crime punishable by fourteen years imprisonment.
Rafiki is a love story
Best friends Kena and Ziki wish for something different than becoming good Kenyan wives. Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls resist and support each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. When love blossoms between them, the two will have to choose between happiness and safety.
Watch the trailer for Rafiki:
Rafiki will premiere in the UK during London Film Festival on 13 October.