Rafiki, a Kenyan drama centered on a lesbian romance, has premiered to sold-out crowds in the East African country after the government temporarily lifted its ban on the LGBTQ film, according to CNN.
— Rafiki Movie (@rafikimovie) September 23, 2018
The Wanuri Kahiu-directed film is based on Jambula Tree, the 2007 Caine Prize-winning short story by Monica Arac de Nyeko. It premiered to rave reviews at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. In April, however, Kenya’s Film and Classification Board prohibited the screening of the film because of its lesbian theme.
The @InfoKfcb 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. #KFCBbansLesbianFilm Dr. @EzekielMutua @moscakenya @PresidentKE @WilliamsRuto @wanuri @NellyMuluka pic.twitter.com/9hBQOukHv3
— KFCB (@InfoKfcb) April 27, 2018
Kahiu filed a lawsuit challenging the censorship of the film earlier this month. The director’s legal team argued that her right to free speech was violated.
The temporary lift allows individuals 18 and older to watch the movie between Sept. 23 and Sept. 29.
#Rafiki is a gorgeous film. A reflection of how shitty this country is. How beautiful things still grow. The ban was utter nonsense. I don’t even get why the rating is 18.
Anyway, they have increased the screening times. Go watch! pic.twitter.com/Jt7y9XlfEr
— Ngatũnyi (@Ngartia) September 24, 2018
Kenyan-born actress Lupita Nyong’o showed support for the movie, tweeting, “Great news. The Kenyan High Court lifted the ban on the film #RAFIKI and it plays for only 7 days making it eligible for Academy Awards submission! Run and go see it!”
Great news: The Kenyan High Court lifted the ban on the film #RAFIKI and it plays for only 7 days making it eligible for Academy Awards submission! Run and go see it! Follow @rafikifilm for details! Great day for the creative industry in Kenya! Congratulations @wanuri!
— Lupita Nyong'o (@Lupita_Nyongo) September 22, 2018
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.