Win for ‘Rafiki’ as High Court Temporarily Lifts Ban to Give Movie Chance at the Oscars

  • The High Court on Friday temporarily suspended the ban by the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) on the lesbian-themed movie “Rafiki.”

    The seven-day suspension ruling by Justice Wilfrida Okwany is meant to allow for the film to have a chance of qualifying for the Oscars.

    In her ruling, the magistrate expressed she was n’t convinced that Kenya is a weak society whose morals will be weakened by watching the movie.

    "Rafiki" director Wanuri Kahiu

    The movie, which shall be opened for viewing by adults only, tells the story of a romantic lesbian relationship which prompted its ban by KFCB.

    “The Board has restricted a local film titled ‘Rafiki’ produced by Awali Entertainment Ltd. Its homosexual theme and clear intent to promote lesbianism in Kenya is contrary to the law,” the Board stated.

    Wanuri Kahiu, the film’s director, had sued the Kenya government after KFCB banned the film citing that it promotes lesbianism contrary to the law.

    Kahiu, in her application, argued the ban made it impossible for her to submit the film for review by the Oscars Selection Committee for consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film category award as stipulations were it has to be screened in Kenya before September 30.

    Wanuri, upon getting the news, was overwhelmed by emotions tweeting; “I am crying. In a French airport. In SUCH Joy! Our constitution is STRONG! Give thanks to freedom of expression!!!! WE DID IT! We will be posting about Nairobi screening soon.”

    On the other hand, the KFCB boss Dr. Ezekiel Mutua expressed his displeasure in a series of tweets, enquiring why people would wish to watch the movie while also strongly condemning NGOs for what he termed as “using gay content as a tool for marketing the film industry in Kenya.”