Episode 59: Rafiki

Episode 59: Rafiki

Rafiki, a film by Wanuri Kahiu, is a story about two young women who fall in love, despite their families being on opposing sides of the Kenyan political divide. It is adapted from the 2007 Caine Prize-winning short story, Jambula Tree, by Ugandan writer Monica Arac de Nyeko. On 12th April 2018, it was announced that it would debut at the Cannes Film Festival (in the Un Certain Regard category) in May 2018. This made it the first Kenyan feature film to achieve this feat.

On 27th April 2018, the head of Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB), Ezekiel Mutua, announced that the film had been banned from screening and distribution in Kenya because of “its homosexual theme and clear intent to promote lesbianism in Kenya contrary to the law.” We are joined by Wanuri Kahiu to discuss the film, the story it tells, and what it mean whens stories that are made primarily for a Kenyan audience are denied this audience. Press play!


Rafiki: Official Trailer

Jambula Tree

A Kenyan Director Made History at Cannes, but Kenyans Still Can’t Watch Her Film

KFCB bans ‘Rafiki’ film for depicting homosexual content

Wanuri Kahiu on Banned LGBT Love Story ‘Rafiki’: ‘It’s Time We Had Fun’

Banned gay film ‘Rafiki’ film reveals Kenya’s sexuality progress

Rafiki: Kenya bans lesbian film ahead of Cannes debut

Why We Should #Repeal162

Episode 11: Censored

Ben Okri: A mental tyranny is keeping black writers from greatness

Ben Okri on the “Mental Tyranny” of African Writers: Truth or Trolling?

Black and African writers don’t need instructions from Ben Okri

Image Credit: Wanuri Kahiu

One thought on “Episode 59: Rafiki

  1. Hello Brenda,

    As always it is a pleasure to listen to you and great conversation from Wanuri. I am especially proud of how Rafiki put Kenyan women on the map (not just literature but film and music).

    On distribution I am sure that many Kenyans are unable to watch the film at home. Different things drives he film creator (telling stories, financial reward, critical acclaim and having the movie widely viewed). When you think about how the Kenyans of many Kenyas engage with entertainment (going to the cinema, subscribing to services like Netflix, and Viusasa, buying bootlegged movies for 50 bob a pop on DVDs, community viewing centres that charge 30 bob to screen said bootlegged copies) we can see how we might have multiple distribution strategies for these different populations.

    That being said, I am interested in how the Internet and file sharing networks have democratized access to content and whether this can be used as a content distribution strategy as we seek, through other channels, the option to say No as Wanuri so eloquently put it.

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