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"Rafiki" First LGBT movies receives massive applause at Cannes Film Festival

"Rafiki" which was reportedly banned from showing in Kenya, in another move which has been perceived as a typical example of African censorship, is more or less the rave of the film festival.

  • Published:
Stars of Rafiki play

Stars of Rafiki

(bellanaija)

Kenya's first LGBT movie may have fallen flat in it's own home, but has received massive applause and accolades at the Canne Film Festival.

The movie titled, "Rafiki" which was reportedly banned from showing in Kenya, in another move which has been perceived as a typical example of African censorship, is more or less the rave of the film festival.

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It is safe to say that the Kenyan-made film on lesbian love has broken new ground following its premiere at the Cannes festival.

Stars of Rafiki play

Stars of Rafiki

(bellanaija)

 

"Rafiki" –- meaning "friend" in Kiswahili –- is adapted from a prize-winning short story called "Jambula Tree" by Ugandan writer Monica Arac de Nyeko.

The film, which tells the tale of two young women whose fathers are political rivals, is the first-ever film from Kenya to get a slot at the world's most prestigious cinema festival. It premieres on Wednesday in the "Un Certain Regard" category, reserved for emerging directors or unexpected or marginal themes.

Stars of Rafiki play

Stars of Rafiki

(bellanaija)

 

The ban was announced by Ezekiel Mutua, a self-described "fervent moral crusader" who runs the Kenya Film Classification Board and has described his job as "upholding our cultural and moral values through content regulation."

He railed against the film for seeking to "normalise homosexuality in Kenya" and condemned it for showing "the resilience of the youngsters involved in lesbianism."

ALSO READ: Kenyan feature film debuts at Cannes Festival

He demanded that director Wanuri Kahiu cut the "offensive classifiable elements", including "romantic scenes" and "a happy ending".

Kahiu has declined to speak much about the Kenyan ban, focusing instead on the premiere.

But she wrote on Twitter that she was "incredibly sorry" about the ban. "Adult Kenyans are mature and discerning enough to watch local content but their right has been denied," she said.

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