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Directed by Wanuri Kahiu
83 min | 2018 | Kenya | Not Rated
Presented in English & Swahili with English subtitles.
Cast: Samantha Mugatsia, Sheila Munyiva, & Patricia Amira
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).
Winner: Audience Award–2018 NewFest; Official Selection: 2018 Cannes Film Festival, 2018 Toronto International Film Festival
Presented as part of our Damn These Heels Film Festival year-round free programming.