Kenya lifts ban on lesbian film ‘Rafiki’ making it eligible for Oscars

The Kenyan High Court on September 21st temporarily lifted the ban by the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) on Rafiki film to allow it to be considered for an award at the Oscars.

Following the high court ruling, an angry CEO of KFCB Dr. Ezekiel Mutua said that it would be a tragedy and a shame to have homosexual films defining the Kenyan culture. “That’s not who we are and homosexuality is not our way of life,” Mutua tweeted. He also wondered what pleasure, pray, does a person of a sane mind find in watching girls having sex with other girls? “Shame on those foreign NGOs who want to use gay content as a tool for marketing the film industry in Kenya. SHINDWE!,” he added. He said that his commission was watching to see which public theatre will exhibit it without the Board’s approval, “If people want to screen the homosexual film in their houses that’s fine”, Business Daily Africa reported.

Kenya’s Film and Classification Board (KFCB) said ‘Rafiki’ was banned because of intent to “promote lesbianism,” in the country.

The Monica Arac Nyeko written film was banned in April for it’s storyline of two women falling in love. Justice Wilfrida Okwany lifted the ban for seven days, during which she has allowed it to be screened to willing adults. According to Ms. Kahiu and the lobby, the ban on the film is contrary to the freedom of artistic creativity.

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.

The film sold out its first screenings on Sunday and has been well-received by audiences, Reuters reports. In response to the increased interest, Nairobi’s Prestige Cinema has added more screenings and the film will be shown through September 29.


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