The Kenyan lesbian film, Rafiki, had a ban lifted temporarily in order for it to be submitted to the Oscars. The film is about a star-crossed romance between Kena and Ziki. Starting off as rivals in the beginning, because of both their fathers running for the local elections, the girls soon build a romance together in the face of conservatism.
The High Court lifted the ban on Friday, allowing it to be the first Kenyan film to be played at the Cannes Film Festival in May. The Kenyan Film Classification Board initially banned the movie because it “promotes lesbianism” which is “contrary to the law.”
The maker of Rafiki, Wanuri Kahiu, sued the KFCB because it affected her career. In order for a movie to be submitted to the Oscars’ Best Foreign Language category, it must be run in its home country first.
Justice Wildria Okwany, who lifted the ban temporarily, stated, “I am not convinced that Kenya is such a weak society that its moral foundation will be shaken by seeing such a film.” The ban was lifted for seven days, allowing the submission and viewing.
Kena and Ziki catch one another’s attention while out on the street. Kena, portrayed by Samantha Mugatsia, enjoys playing soccer with her friend Blacksta. Soon she notices Ziki, Sheila Munyiva, hanging with her friends. With their fathers being rivals due to an election, the fear of disappointing their families expands with Kena’s and Ziki’s relationship.
The couple shares moments in secrecy, but even those remain a spectacle worth viewing.
Photo courtesy of Facebook