The first Kenyan feature to ever screen at Cannes Film Festival. Wanuri Kahiu’s stunning lesbian drama wins a landmark Supreme Court case, overturning the Kenyan Film Board’s ban and chipping away at Kenyan anti-LGBT legislation.
Inspired by Ugandan Monica Arac de Nyeko’s 2007 Caine Prize-winning short story “Jambula Tree.”
Bursting with the colorful street style & music of Nairobi’s vibrant youth culture, RAFIKI is a tender love story between two young women in a country that still criminalizes homosexuality.
Kena and Ziki have long been told that “good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives” – but they yearn for something more.
Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls encourage each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. When love blossoms between them, Kena and Ziki must choose between happiness and safety.
Initially banned in Kenya for its positive portrayal of queer romance, RAFIKI won a landmark supreme court case chipping away at Kenyan anti-LGBT legislation.
Featuring remarkable performances by newcomers Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva, RAFIKI is a hip tale of first love “reminiscent of the early work of Spike Lee” (Screen Daily) that’s “impossible not to celebrate” (Variety)!
Director Wanuri Kahiu calls her style of filmmaking “Afro bubble gum art,” which she describes in an NPR interview: “We need to show images of Africans who are not dying, not in need of saving and living a joyous, thriving African life.”
"it marks the breakthrough of a filmmaker of such exhilarating, cheerfully courageous vision."
"Tender! EXCELLENT lead performers!"
"Director Kahiu has a keen eye for Nairobi's vibrant street life, and her handling of the burgeoning relationship feels sincere and natural."
"…the most salient take-away was about love. The love between two idealistic, iconoclastic, intelligent, and imperfect young women."