'Huge win' as banned Kenyan film is allowed limited showings

2018-09-29 15:30
iStock

iStock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The first Kenyan feature film to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival has received overwhelming audience support since a court temporarily lifted a ban imposed by censors over the film's gay content, a lawyer said on Friday.

"Rafiki" went from being screened once a day in one theater in Nairobi on Sept. 22 to three daily screenings at theaters in three of Kenya's largest cities as of Friday, said Sofia Leteipan, who represents director Wanuri Kahiu.

The court ruled that the film, a love story featuring two women, could be viewed locally for one week to make it eligible for Oscar contention. The ban will resume after Sunday showings.

Ezekiel Mutua, the head of the Kenya Film Classification Board, has said that only "a small portion" of the country's population has seen it.

"There is no market for homosexual movies in Kenya. Is there value for money in making a homosexual movie that will be watched by 300 out of 44 million people?" Mutua said in an interview on Citizen Television earlier in the week.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook.

It is illegal to have same-gender sex in Kenya. Gays and lesbians in many parts of Africa face severe harassment, physical threats and judicial punishment.

Kenya's National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is currently in court arguing that sections of the penal code violate the constitution and deny basic rights by criminalizing consensual same-sex relations between adults.

Leteipan said that although "Rafiki" in the end wasn't nominated for an Oscar, its screening across Kenya is a "huge win for the articulation of freedom of expression."

She said that after the ban resumes, "we'll still be in court pursuing the original petition to have the ban permanently lifted and strike out provisions of Films and Stage Plays Act which restrict freedom of expression and constrain creativity."

After watching the film, gay activist Immah Reid called it a "well-structured conversation starter for sexuality in Kenya ... how gender appears and the violence people who don't conform to gender rules end up going through."

Maureen Nyambura, a university student, said it is progress that "Rafiki" is being seen in a society that often doesn't tolerate different sexualities.

"You don't have to be a woman to fall in love with a man and vice versa. It's time Kenya embraces sexual diversity," she said.

Read more on:    kenya  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.