The first Kenyan film set to air at the prestigious Cannes festival in France will not be seen by audiences in Kenya because it has been banned.
Rafiki, which means “friend” in Kiswahili, tells the story of two young women who fall in love. Its director Wanuri Kahiu says it is inspired by the 2007 Caine Prize-winning short story Jambula Tree by Ugandan writer Monica Arac Nyeko.
Kahiu shared the news about the film’s domestic ban on Twitter a short while ago.
I am incredibly sorry to announce that our film RAFIKI has been banned in Kenya. We believe adult Kenyans are mature and discerning enough to watch local content but their right has been denied. #Cannes2018 #AKenyanFirst
— Wanuri (@wanuri) April 27, 2018
The decision to ban the film has been criticised by the film’s many supporters on social media, as well as Kenya’s National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC).
The body also questioned why the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) chose to ban the film after its head, Ezekiel Mutua, had praised it as “a story about the realities of our time and the challenges our kids are facing”: