Distributor: Film Movement
May 2019Watch Trailer
Director: Wanuri Kahiu
2019, Kenya, 82 minutes, Digital, NR
Language: Swahili, English
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)!
“A wholly new vision of African filmmaking that is vibrant, compassionate, and joyous.”
— Sarah-Tai Black, Cinema Scope
“It’s undoubtedly a shame that the film’s home country wasn’t initially willing to acknowledge the beauty of Rafiki’s depictions of lesbian love and countless other real-life same-sex relationships. Kahiu’s film reinforces that being who you are and loving in spite of the opinions of others is still a revolutionary act. So cheers to the Kenyan viewers, who now have the opportunity to see Rafiki for what it is — colorful, warm and real.”
— Joi Childs, Shadow and Act
“Rafiki is a small revelation, not least because it marks the breakthrough of a filmmaker of such exhilarating, cheerfully courageous vision.”
— Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post