Kenyan lesbian film ‘Rafiki’ directed by renowned Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu, has been banned in Kenya by Kenya Films and Classification Board (KFCB) CEO Ezekiel Mutua, who has made a habit of overstepping his mandate.
The critically acclaimed film had been selected to show case at the Cannes Festival this year. This would be history in the making as it would have been the first Kenyan film to debut at the revered French festival.
Mr Mutua is not new to causing controversies during his tenure in office. He has dubbed himself as the sole moral watchtower and by so doing has caught his fair share of flak from Kenyan consumers for banning local content from advertisements to music videos. He has banned videos from Kenya’s elite boy band Sauti Sol i.e Nishike, and recently threatened the same action against their collaboration with Patoranking on Melanin.
Mutua asserted that the film promoted homosexual deviants that go against the country’s laws and the ‘African’ culture. He insisted that the banning followed thorough consultation from stakeholders and Wanuri herself.
On Wanuri’s part, she took to twitter to express her sentiments
Mutua’s banning of Rafiki – the internationally acclaimed film exploring love between two adult women – has earned Kenya international ridicule. So much so that even RnB songstress Janelle Monae took to Twitter to promote the film and encouraged screenings all over the world. Methinks Mutua should go back to his homophobic Neanderthal’s cave.
Coincidentally enough, the banning came hot on the heels of the President Uhuru Kenyatta making some choice and regrettable comments on CNN, where instead of preaching inclusion, he used the age old ‘African culture card’ to further preach exclusion.
Rafiki is Kenya’s – one of Africa’s – first films with an LBGTI (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, and Intersex) theme. It goes where African movies haven’t gone before. It boldly probes erotic love between two young African women amidst a cauldron of family, social, and political pressures.
The international community will watch and celebrate it while Kenyans will be denied the product of their own genius, that should be lauded and hailed.
The only consolation to Kenyans is that Mutua can not ban the World Wide Web.