Kenya Upholds Ban on Groundbreaking Lesbian Romance Film 'Rafiki'
It's director, Wanuri Kahiu, says she's prepared to take the petition to the Supreme Court if necessary.
A screening ban on the award-winning Kenyan film, Rafiki, has been upheld in the country.
The High Court of Kenya ruled that the ban by the Kenya Film Classification Board on the 2018 film, "does not in any way violate Artistic Freedom of Expression, but instead protect the society from moral decay." Adding that the filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu had failed to prove that ban placed a limitation on her freedom of expression in her petition.
The movie, which centers a young lesbian couple in Nairobi, was considered controversial in the country where gay sex is considered a criminal offense.
Rafiki was a major success outside of Kenya, it was the first movie from the country to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in France, and was considered groundbreaking for its LGBTQ storyline.
Kahiu expressed disappointment in the court's decision. "We are disappointed of course. But I strongly believe in the constitution and we are not going to give up," she told Reuters. "I think it is very important for us to define what freedom of expression means in Kenya as per our constitution. We are going to appeal. The ruling today is not a true reflection of what the constitution says."
She added that the fight to get the movie shown in Kenya isn't over and added that she's prepared to take the case to the court of appeals and the Supreme Court if necessary.
The ban was temporarily lifted for seven days in 2019 in order to allow the film to be submitted for Oscar consideration. The movie also earned a 2020 GLAAD nomination. OkayAfrica spoke with the filmmaker last May about the inspiration behind the film and the ongoing challenge to get the ban lifted in her home country. Revisit the interview down below.
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