Kenyans boldly jumped at the opportunity to see the movie, ‘Rafiki’, about love between two women. The movie which was previously banned in the country by Kenya’s Film and Classification Board (KFCB) in April for having a lesbian theme had its ban temporarily lifted by a Kenyan court
The ruling allowed Kenyans of appropriate age 9 18 and above) to watch the movie for the first time in the country for just one week from September 23 until 29th.
Now, plenty of accolades are coming in by many Kenyans for the movie on social media.
— Mutheu (@Mutheusworld) September 30, 2018
Many find it absurd the movie was banned in the first place with comments like ‘it is indeed a same to think that watching a homosexual movie will make us homosexuals. I have watched these Nigerian movies and I have not become a witch’
#RafikiMovie It is indeed a shame to think that watching a homosexual movie will make us homosexuals. I have watched these Nigerian movies and I have not become a witch
— James McGauge (@J_mfalme) September 21, 2018
The film is also receiving support from other countries as festivals in the UK and Nigeria are planning to screen it.
— Lọlá Shónẹ́yìn (@lolashoneyin) September 22, 2018
Lola Shoneyin, director of the Ake Arts & Book Festival explained why the Nigerian festival will be screening ‘Rafiki’ in October.
‘The Ake Arts & Book Festival is all about developing, promoting and… celebrating all aspects of our culture but especially the core arts. We heard about the film and some of the controversy and we think that it’s important that it’s screened at this festival which…was established to encourage people to ask questions about what it means to be an African.’
Kenyan actress and Oscar winner, Lupita Nyong’o also tweeted her support for the movie when the ruling was announced, saying: ‘…great day for the creative industry in Kenya! Congratulations @wanuri!’
Great news: The Kenyan High Court lifted the ban on the film #RAFIKI and it plays for only 7 days making it eligible for Academy Awards submission! Run and go see it! Follow @rafikifilm for details! Great day for the creative industry in Kenya! Congratulations @wanuri!
— Lupita Nyong'o (@Lupita_Nyongo) September 22, 2018
Director Wanuri Kahiu filed a lawsuit earlier this month challenging the censorship board’s ruling.
Kahiu’s lawyers argued that banning the film violated her constitutional right to free speech and free expression as an artist.
The temporary ban allows ‘Rafiki’ to be eligible to be submitted for the Best Foreign Language film at next year’s Academy Awards.
According to the Academy’s rules, a film must be shown in the country where it was produced for seven consecutive days to be eligible.
Reacting to the court judgment, Kahiu posted an emotional statement on Twitter.
‘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,’ she said.
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. Follow @rafikimovie
— Wanuri (@wanuri) September 21, 2018
The debate on ‘Rafiki’ is not about freedom. It’s about our essential values. The hullabaloo about artistic freedom is a decoy. The big agenda is to corrupt our culture and moral values, and to kill the institution of family,” says the head of KFCB Dr. Ezekiel Mutua on Twitter.