The Kenyan film board banned Wanuri Kahiu’s LGBT film Rafiki a few weeks before its Cannes Film Festival Premiere, Variety reports.
Kahiu said Friday she was “incredibly disappointed” by the decision.
“Unfortunately, our film has been censored in Kenya, because it deals with matters that are uncomfortable for the Kenya Film Classification Board,” she told the Kenyan morning show Morning Express. “But I truly believe that an adult Kenyan audience is mature and discerning enough to be able to watch this film and have their own conversation.”
According to Variety:
The film is the story of two teenage girls who develop a romance that’s opposed by their families and community. It was adapted from the short story “Jambula Tree,” by Uganda’s Monica Arac de Nyeko, which was awarded the prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing in 2007.
“[‘Rafiki’ is] a reflection of society, and we need to be having conversations about what is happening in our society. But unfortunately, because the film has been banned, we’ll be unable to have these conversations,” she added.
In a series of tweets, the CEO of Kenya’s Film Classification Board, Dr. Ezekiel Mutua, said that family foundations stem from the union between a man and a woman and that the board won’t be approving the film.
We cannot and will not therefore accept or approve content that promotes homosexuality as a way of life here in Kenya. #KFCBbansLesbianFilm @NellyMuluka @PresidentKE@InfoKfcb @Khagali_M @CSRashidEchesa
— Dr. Ezekiel Mutua, MBS (@EzekielMutua) April 27, 2018
Variety received a copy of the board’s ruling, which said it was concerned with the film’s subject matter.
“It is our considered view that the moral of the story in this film is to legitimize lesbianism in Kenya contrary to the law and the Board’s content classification guidelines,” according to the ruling.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.