On Tuesday, 25th September, a section of Kenyan media was treated to a free screening of Kenyan film, Rafiki at Goethe Institute Nairobi.
The Oscar nominated film stirred up controversy due to its storyline which focuses on two girls that fall in love. The film got banned in Kenya by the Kenya Film Classification Board, on grounds of promoting homosexuality, to the dismay of many. However, the Kenya high court lifted the ban recently to enable its producer submit it for the Oscars, next year. The movie which premiered at the 71st Cannes Film Festival in May is adapted from Jambula Tree, a book by author, Monica Arac de Nyako.
Rafiki is a story about love. Ziki, a teenage girl from an affluent political family falls for Kena, whose father is also trying his hand at politics, albeit, on the opposing side. Their beautiful relationship blossoms but is cut short after word goes round that the two are in a relationship. Ziki is sent away to London while Kena remains behind to pursue her nursing career. The color, emotions, music and outstanding work by the cast and producers is what makes this movie phenomenal. It sets a precedent for others to tell beautiful stories of the LGBTQ community.
So, why was the movie named Rafiki?
In most parts of Africa and even other parts of the world, same sex relationships are still frowned upon. The LGBTQ community goes through so much just to love and be in love. Introducing someone of the same sex as your partner would more often than not be met with disgust, shock and even violence and you will find that LGBTQ couples introduce each other as “This is my friend”, obviously, to avoid many questions or an unfortunate outcome of events. For this reason, Wanuri Kahiu, Rafiki Film producer decided to name the movie ‘Rafiki’ which is Swahili for friend.
Before you make your judgement, please take your time to watch the movie, which is screening at Prestige Cinema from 23rd to 29th.
Let’s support the arts. Let’s support our own.