News Brief

'RAFIKI' Director Wanuri Kahiu Is Suing Kenya's Film Board to Make Way for Oscars Qualification

The Kenyan filmmaker continues to fight for her film to be screened in her home country.

Wanuri Kahiu's RAFIKI has received its due praise on the film festival circuit since her film was selected to make its world premiere at Cannes earlier this year—making it the first Kenyan feature film to do so. However, the Kenya Film Classification Board has since banned the film, citing that it "seeks to legitimize lesbian romance."

Kahiu's fight for RAFIKI to be screened in her home country has not ceased, as she announced this week at TIFF that herself and a cohort of Kenyan artists have filed a lawsuit against the board, Vanity Fair reports.


The suit demands the ban imposed on the film to be lifted in time for her to submit the film to be considered for an Oscar. It's also pushing to change the law that has been used to ban popular films and cartoons like The Wolf of Wall Street and Adventure Time.

"I don't necessarily consider myself an activist; I truly consider myself a storyteller," Kahiu says at TIFF, where her film made its North American debut. "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, The Hollywood Reporter adds. 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 nominated in that category.

"It's not a government's right to say what you can imagine and what you cannot imagine," Kahiu adds. "And who is allowed to exist. That's not a way that you can run a country, because we're made up of diverse people."

READ: Wanuri Kahiu Speaks on the Overwhelming Response to 'RAFIKI' at Cannes

(From left to right) Stéphane Bak and Marc Zinga in 'The Mercy of the Jungle.' Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Congolese Actor Stéphane Bak on His Intense Experience Shooting 'The Mercy of the Jungle' In Uganda

We catch up with the actor after the film made its North American premiere at TIFF.

When actor Stéphane Bak first got the script for The Mercy of the Jungle (La Miséricorde de la Jungle), he knew there was one person he had to consult: his father. "My dad did school me about this," he says. While Bak was born and raised in France, his parents had emigrated from what was then Zaire in the 1980s—before the events of the movie, and not exactly in the same area, but close enough to be able to pass on firsthand knowledge of the simmering ethnic tensions that underpin the action.

The story takes place in 1998, just after the outbreak of the Second Congo War—which came hot on the heels of the First Congo War. Two Rwandan soldiers find themselves separated from their company and have to make a harrowing trek through the jungle to link back up with their regiment. Bak plays Private Faustin, the young recruit hunting Hutu rebels to avenge his murdered family, a foil to Marc Zinga's seasoned Sergeant Xavier. As a Congolese militia swarms the area, and it becomes increasingly difficult to tell enemies from friends, the two are forced off the road and into the thick vegetation.

Their journey is physically difficult, but the jungle also nurtures them, providing food, water, and shelter. "The title is very explicit in a way," says Bak. It is the human beings they encounter, from rival soldiers and militiamen to the hostile security forces guarding illegal gold mining operations, who bring sudden danger and violence. The challenges are conveyed as much through the actors' physicality as through the minimal dialogue. As for the strain on his face, Bak says it was all real. "To be honest, it was very difficult," he says of the shoot, which took him 25 days. "I had to learn my accent in two weeks." Prior to commencing, there was training with the Ugandan army for realism. Due to the ongoing conflicts in the DRC, the movie itself was shot in Uganda.

Keep reading... Show less

Brazil Has Made Yoruba an Official Language

The language will also be incorporated into primary and secondary school curriculum in the country, says the Minister of Culture.

Yoruba history and culture has an undeniably strong presence in Brazilian society, due of course, to the Transatlantic slave trade which brought millions of enslaved West Africans to the Americas. Despite the inhumanity they faced, many managed to keep their ancestral culture and traditions alive.

Centuries have passed, and Yoruba influences still continue to thrive in various regions of the country, as many Brazilians maintain a strong relationship with the language and religion. Its influence can be seen through the music, food and spiritual practices of various communities. Last month the Ooni of Ife—the spiritual leader of the Yoruba people—visited the country, where he was met by crowds of Black Brazilians who turned up to pay their respects.

This connection will likely remain strong for future generations, as the language has now become an official foreign language in the country.

WATCH: How Ilê Aiyê Brought Blackness Back to Carnival

Brazil's Minister of Culture, Dr. Sérgio Sá Leitão, has said that the language will now be incorporated into primary and secondary school curriculum, reports the Nigerian Voice.

Keep reading... Show less

This EP Blends the Afro-Brazilian Rhythms of Bahia With Bass Music

Get into Telefunksoul and Felipe Pomar's Ré_Con Ba$$ EP.

Brazilian producers Felipe Pomar (of TrapFunk & Alivio) and Telefunksoul come through with a dizzyingly energetic EP in the form of Ré_Con Ba$$.

Telefunksoul, who happens to be one of the main promoters of Bahia Bass music, came up with the concept of exploring the rhythms coming out of Recôncavo of Bahia and showing how they can fit into bass music.

Through the 7-track Ré_Con Ba$$ EP, him and Pomar mold and transform the diverse music of Bahia, fusing its rhythms with afrobeat, future house, deep house and much more.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.