Canned in Kenya, set for Cannes: Rafiki falls foul of Nairobi film censors
3 May 2018
It is a coming-of-age tale of two girls, the daughters of political opponents, who fall in love and find their identity and dreams compromised by a conservative society.
Bringing their story to the screen has proved a triumph for director Wanuri Kahiu, who made history last week after it was announced that Rafiki would be the first Kenyan film to feature at the Cannes film festival, which begins in May.
Yet the fiction is all too close to reality after it was announced on Friday that Kenyan authorities have banned the film due to its “clear intent to promote lesbianism”.
According to the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB), the movie Rafiki – which means “friend” in KiSwahili – contravenes national laws and culture.
Ezekiel Mutua, the board’s chief executive, announced: “The Kenya Film Classification Board has banned the film Rafiki due to its homosexual theme and clear intent to promote lesbianism in Kenya contrary to the law and dominant values of the Kenyans.”
Oddly, the ban comes just days after Mutua applauded the award-winning director Kahiu, who won a clutch of accolades for her 2008 film, From a Whisper.