Kenya: Movie banned over LGBT content

30 May 2018
Kenya Film Classification Board banned Wanuri Kahiu's film Rafiki over its LGBT content depicting a love story between two women.
Photo: Section of Rafiki film poster / Rafiki Facebook page


On 27 April 2018, the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) banned Wanuri Kahiu’s film Rafiki (Friend)—the country’s first film to be nominated for an award at the Cannes Film Festival—over its LGBT content, reported The Globe and Mail. The film depicts a love story between two women.

Kahiu has said in earlier interviews that she had been nervous about the film’s reception in Kenya, but found support from government authorities and the local film industry. But on 27 April, the film board accused producers of changing the original script that was licensed for production, reported Australian news source ABC.

KFCB CEO Ezekiel Mutua, who since 2016 has been criticised for his frequent banning of artistic works, said the movie “legitimizes homosexuality against the dominant values, cultures and beliefs of the people of Kenya”, reported The New York Times.

The ban, which went through despite the producers’ request for an age 18 classification rating, happened at a time when the High Court is reconsidering laws discriminating gays and lesbians. According to the current Penal Code of Kenya: “any person who has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years”.


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