Kenyan Lesbian Film “Rafiki” Coming to Germany in October

The lead actresses from the film Rafiki: Samantha Mugatsia and 
Sheila Munyiva

Well if you have been following up on the story of Wanuri Kahiu’s film, Rafiki, here’s your chance to come watch it.

‘Rafiki’ which means ‘friend’ in Swahili is the story of friendship, forbidden love and unfulfilled aspirations adapted from a book called Jambula Tree by Ugandan author Monica Arac de Nyeko.

The film that was banned by the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) in April, made history in May when it became the first Kenyan movie to premiere at the Cannes film festival in France.

KFCB based its defense for banning the film on the Films and Stage Plays Act (Cap 222), a colonial era legislation, whose sole aim was to limit artistic and cultural works in post-colonial Kenya. The same legislation used to ban many of the plays staged by Ngugi wa Thiong’o and others who opposed the oppression of the masses.

Rafiki from trigon-film on Vimeo.

Although the movie contains no nudity, cursing, drugs or underage drinking, KFCB’s Chairman claimed that airing the film would lead to a degradation of Kenya’s morality and a recruitment of lesbians.

A rational that was trivialized last week when the ban was lifted by High Court Judge Wilfrida Okwany who is “not convinced that Kenya is such a weak society that its moral foundation will be shaken by seeing such a film”. The judge lifted the ban for seven days to allow for willing adults to watch it and Kenyans did not disappoint with sold out movie theatres across the country.

The film’s director, Wanuri Kahiu, had sued the Kenyan government claiming that banning the film violated her constitutional right to free speech and free expression as an artist. Furthermore, the film could not be submitted for the Oscars when it had not been publicly exhibited in its country of origin for at least seven consecutive days.

Actress Samantha Mugatsia, lead actress in the film, Rafiki. (Photo by Fabrizio Maltese/Contour by Getty Images).

For those in Germany, you can catch Samantha Mugatsia, one of the lead actresses in the film and watch the movie on the following dates and venues:

Sun. 14.10.                   Queerfilm festival, Bremen

Sat. 13.10.                   Pride Pictures, Karlsruhe

Tue. 16.10                   Lesbisch Schwule Filmtagein Hamburg

Tue. 23.10.                   Queer-Streifen, Regensburg

Sat. 27.10.                  Perlen – Queer Film Festival Hannover

Thu. 8.11.                   Queer Film Festival Oldenburg

In Switzerland, you can catch it at the:

3. and 5.10.                       Zürich Film Festival

1.11                                     Weltfilmtage in Thusis

9. and 11.11.                      Queersicht Festival in Bern

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