Kenyan film Rafiki (“friend” in Swahili) is the story of a budding romance between two girls, Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) and Ziki (Sheila Munyiva) who happen to be the daughter of well-known and rival politicians. Directed by Kenyan filmmaker/writer Wanuri Kahiu, the film was banned in Kenya in April for its lesbian sex scenes.
Written by Kahiu and South African Jenna Bass, the film is an adaption of a short story by Ugandan author Monica Arac de Nyeko.
The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) said “[Rafiki]’s homosexual theme and clear intent to promote lesbianism in Kenya contrary to the law and dominant values of the Kenyans.” The board warned that anyone found in possession of the film would be viewed as breaking Kenyan law. Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya and sodomy is a felony, punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
In more uplifting news, the film received a standing ovation following its May 9, 2018 debut at the Cannes Film Festival where its entry marked the first time a Kenyan film has ever been shown at the event.
Check out a trailer for the film below.
Rafiki‘s director Wanuri Kahiu, and stars Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva receive standing ovation at Cannes
Lesbian romance #Rafiki‘s director Wanuri Kahiu, and stars Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva received a standing ovation last night at #Cannes2018. Read our review of the film: https://t.co/UOoKmmydd7 pic.twitter.com/U6I83tDjKQ
— Variety (@Variety) May 10, 2018