Wanuri Kahiu’s lesbian film “Rafiki” becomes Kenya’s first film to debut at Cannes

A feature film directed by award-winning producer and writer Wanuri Kahiu has made history by becoming the first Kenyan film to be invited to premiere at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. Wanuri is known for the award-winning 2009 sci-fi short film Pumzi, and she joins six female filmmakers from a lineup of 13 films. Her controversial film Rafiki also joins local films that have been recently celebrated and awarded internationally like Mully, Watu Wore, Nairobi Half Life, Supa Modo and Kati Kati.

Rafiki (Kiswahili for ‘friend’), is a lesbian love story between its female leads, Kena and Ziki, played by Samantha Mugstsia and Sheila Munyiva respectively. Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls remain close friends, supporting each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. But when love blossoms between them, they will be forced to choose between happiness and safety.

Rafiki is a witty, playful and touching portrait of a community affected by a relationship that blossoms between the two leads. This politically-timed film celebrates love and asks whether it’s safer being invisible as a LGBTQ person, or should LGBTQ people defy conservative rules when they discover their identity and destiny through love. The Cannes Film Festival is the world’s prestigious annual film festival held in France, and will run this year from May 8 to May 19.

To get you all fired up, here is Pumzi, Wanuri’s best known film till date, in its entirety.

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