Will the Warm Reception for the Film ‘Rafiki’ Lead to Gains for LGBT Kenyans?

Will the Warm Reception for the Film ‘Rafiki’ Lead to Gains for LGBT Kenyans?
Wanuri Kahiu, the director of the film “Rafiki,” stands by an art installation in Nairobi, Kenya, April 27, 2018 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent.

Ever since “Rafiki,” the latest film by the acclaimed Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu, screened at the Cannes Film Festival in May, it has been widely praised by foreign critics and directors and even generated some Oscar buzz. But only in the past week have Kenyans been able to see it for themselves.

The film centers on a romance between two women. Ezekiel Mutua, chairman of the Kenya Film Classification Board, or KFCB, banned it domestically, saying it was an attempt by Kahiu “to normalize homosexuality.” Instead of accepting the ban, however, Kahiu challenged Mutua in court. In an in-depth report for WPR in July, Nanjala Nyabola wrote that this decision reflected “a heightened sense of activism within Kenya’s creative class.”

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.