Kenyan Court lifts ban on lesbian film, 'Rafiki'

By: nairobinews.nation.co.ke
Rafiki co-producer, Wanuri Kahiu
Writer, director and co-producer of 'Rafiki', Wanuri Kahiu
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A KENYAN High Court on Friday(September 21, 2018) temporarily lifted the ban on the film Rafiki which had been outlawed by the Kenya Film Classification Board for promoting lesbianism.

Justice Wilfrida Okwany lifted the ban for seven days to allow the controversial movie to participate in the 2019 Oscars Award.

The deadline for submission of entries in the 2019 Oscars is September 30 and for a movie to be submitted, it has to have been screened in the originating county for a minimum of seven days.

Rafiki has been submitted to the 2019 Oscars Award as Kenya’s entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

In her ruling Justice Okwany, said during the week, the movie will be open to willing adults only.

Oscar Awards

The judge cited the cases of Kenyan artistes who have in the past fled the country and seek asylum because their creations went against the grain of societal expectations.

“I am not convinced that Kenya is such a weak society that its moral foundation will be shaken by seeing such a film,” Okwany said while delivering her ruling.

But in a quick response to the court ruling, an angry Dr Mutua dared public theatres to go ahead and exhibit the movie without the board’s approval.

“That’s not who we are and homosexuality is not our way of life. Shame on those foreign NGOs who want to use gay content as a tool for marketing the film industry in Kenya,” Mutua tweeted.

Declared Illegal 

He wondered what pleasure a person of a sane mind gets in watching girls having sex with other girls.

Written, Directed, and co-produced by Wanuri Kahiu, Rafiki is a love story of two teenage girls who develop a romantic relationship, which is opposed by their families and community.

Lead actresses of 'Rafiki', Sheila Munyiva and Samantha Mugatsia

The film was adapted from the short story Jambula Tree by Uganda’s Monica Arac de Nyeko, which was awarded the prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing in 2007.

According to Ms Kahiu, who sued KFCB and its CEO Dr Ezekiel Mutua, the ban on the film is contrary to the freedom of artistic creativity and that they are bound to suffer losses.

In her law suit Ms Kahiu also wants the Kenya Films Classification guidelines 2012 to be declared illegal and that they should be awarded Sh8.5 million as compensation for projected sale from theatrical distribution of Rafiki as well as loss of sponsorship.