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'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

Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Keep reading...

University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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Photo: Ben Depp.

Watch Yilian Canizares & Paul Beaubrun's Beautiful Video For 'Noyé'

"Cuba and Haiti come together to share the love and heritage of our deep rooted culture and spirituality."

Yilian Canizares and Paul Beaubrun connect for the serene "Noyé," one of the highlights from Canizares' latest album, Erzulie.

The Cuban singer and Haitian artist are now sharing the new Arnaud Robert-directed music video for the single, which we're premiering here today.

"Noyé is a song that comes from our roots," Yilian Canizares tells OkayAfrica. "Inspired by the energy of love. The same love that kept Africa's legacy alive in the hearts of Haiti and Cuba. We wanted to do a stripped down version of only the essential pieces from a musical point of view. Something raw and beautiful where our souls would be naked."

The striking music video follows Canizares and Beaubrun to the waters of New Orleans, the universal Creole capital, where they sing and float until meeting on the Mississippi River.

"Noyé is a cry of love from children of African descent," says Paul Beaubrun. "Cuba and Haiti come together to share the love and heritage of our deep rooted culture and spirituality."

Watch the new music video for "Noyé" below.

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