Samantha Mugatsia wins best actress at this year’s Fespaco film festival for her lead role in banned Kenyan film ‘Rafiki’

The Kenyan film ‘Rafiki’, directed by Wanuri Kahiu is a movie premised on a love story between two women. Their romance unfolds against a backdrop of homophobia and despite their families being on opposing sides of the political divide. Rafiki which means “friend” in Swahili was banned last year by the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) for “promoting lesbianism.

Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya – a legacy of British colonial-era rule. Gay sex is punishable by 14 years in Kenya but the country’s High Court is due to rule on whether to strike down the ban in May.

Africa’s largest film festival Fespaco awarded Kenyan actress Samantha Mugatsia for her depiction of a lesbian character ‘Kena’ in ‘Rafiki’.

The festival in Burkina Faso gave Samantha Mugatsia the best actress award for her lead role in the film Rafiki. Fespaco, the French acronym of the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou, is Africa’s longest running film festival and it celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.


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