Rafiki: Director of Kenyan film banned for its lesbian storyline is suing the film board

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Wanuri Kahiu is suing the film board in Kenya to lift ban placed on the movie, ''Rafiki'' to make way for Oscar submission.

Rafiki, banned by the Kenya film board for its lesbian storyline ahead of the debut at the Cannes festival in 2018, the director is now suing the film board to allow for an Oscar submission.

Wanuri Kahiu, Kenyan filmmaker is fighting for the ban on her film to be lifted in her home country ahead of call for submission to be considered for an Oscar.

This was made known through a post on the Twitter account [@dhahabukenya] on Wednesday, September 12th, with the caption,

''Creatives including Rafiki film producer, Wanuri Kahiu have sued InfoFfcb [the official Twitter account of the Kenya Film Classification Board] and Ezekiel Mutua [CEO of the board] for infringing on freedom of expression.

Justice Okwany today ordered all parties to the case to appear before her this Friday for directions.''


The film Rafiki, which means "friend" in Swahili, traces the love story between two young women.

The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) had placed a ban on it, saying the film "seeks to legitimize lesbian romance".

KFCB warned that anyone found in possession of the film would be in breach of the law in Kenya, where gay sex is punishable by 14 years.


Wanuri Kahiu in an interview with BBC shortly after the ban had said, "I really had hoped that the classification board would classify it as an 18. Because we feel the Kenyan audience is a mature, discerning enough audience."

The movie recently got screened at the TIFF Festival making its North American debut, where Kahiu told TIFF, "I don't necessarily consider myself an activist; I truly consider myself a storyteller,"

"But when somebody starts to infringe on your rights to be creative and exercise your work, that becomes a problem. That's when we decided to push back and take the Classification Board to court."

For 'Rafiki' to be eligible for a Best Foreign Language award, it needs to be shown in Kenya before September 30, if the selection committee is given permission to screen the film to submit it to the Academy, 'Rafiki' could be the first Kenyan film to be considered in that category.






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