The Kenya Film Classification Board on
Friday banned lesbian love story Rafiki, the nation's first
feature film to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
in Swahili) revolves around two young women, each of whom is the
daughter of a rival politician. As they fall in love, they must
decide whether their relationship is worth the risk in Kenya where
gay sex is a crime and violators face up to 14 years in prison.
Director Wanuri Kahiu told the AP that
the ban is “limiting freedom expression of artists in the country
and hence the growth of the industry.”
“I think that there are discerning
audiences not only in Kenya but the entire world that are able to
judge what's good and bad and it's not what's defined by the Kenya
Film Classification Board,” she said.
The film board accused the filmmaker of
having a “clear intent to promote lesbianism in Kenya contrary to
“It is our considered view that the
moral of the story in this film is to legitimize lesbianism in
Kenya,” the board said in a statement. “Any attempt to introduce
and normalize homosexuality in Kenya flies in the face of the law and
the constitution and must be resisted.”
Earlier this month, President Uhuru
Kenyatta said during an appearance on CNN that gay rights are “not
of any major importance” in Kenya and that its laws criminalizing
gay sex are supported by 99 percent of Kenyans.
Uhuru Kenyatta says gay rights are “of no importance” in Kenya.)
Rafiki is set to premiere next
month at the Cannes Film Festival.