Just last week, Wanuri Kahiu’s debut film, Rafiki, made history as the first Kenyan feature film set to debut at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Rafiki is the story of two lesbian lovers, Kena and Ziki, who despite the political rivalry between their families are romantically entwined in a community that frowns upon same sex relations.
Kahui just released a moving trailer for the film, showing how their relationship blossoms and the typical African response to LGBT issues by spiritual deliverance.
Speaking about the importance of this film for Kenya on her website, Wanuri said, “Making a film about two women in love, set in in Kenya, means challenging deep rooted cynicism about same sex relationships among actors, crew, friends, and family.”
She added that “over the past 5 years of developing this script and project, we have seen worrying developments in the anti-LGBTI climate in east Africa.”
These increasing infringements on the human rights of LGBT individuals in countries like Uganda, Zimbabwe and Nigeria led in part to the British prime minister Theresa May apologising to citizens of Commonwealth nations last week for inflicting dreaded anti-gay laws upon them. The colonial-era ‘sodomy laws’ are in place in 36 out of 53 Commonwealth nations.
“I am all too aware that these laws were often put in place by my own country,” May told leaders at the just concluded Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM2018) in London. “They were wrong then and they are wrong now.”
The Cannes Film Festival is expected to run from 8 May – 19 May. Watch the trailer for Rafiki right here: