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]t home, where homosexuality remains a criminal offense, “Rafiki” has been slapped with a ban for its positive representation — a state of affairs that makes this lively, brightly performed film impossible not to celebrate...."
- "[A] vibrant, pulsing piece of work, keying off the joy of young love and unexpected discovery. "
- "[W]ith Rafiki, the director has produced a wholly new vision of African filmmaking that is vibrant, compassionate, and joyous."
- "A burst of unfiltered teenage energy. Lively and full of vision! [Kahiu] has a wonderful eye for detail and lyricism."
- "A dynamic, smoothly-executed tale of impossible love that brings fresh energy to a subject that may seem overly familiar to western eyes. ...[R]eminiscent of the early work of Spike Lee."
- "[B]y framing an effervescent lesbian romance against a backdrop of political allegiance and the societal taboos surrounding LGBTQ rights, Rafiki finds its voice – and deserves to shout it, loud and clear."
- "The story's simplicity and directness are a big part of its charm."
Awards & Recognition
Cannes Film Festival
Toronto Int'l. Film Festival
Audience Award - Best Narrative Feature
Jury Award for Best Feature
OUTShine Film Festival
Chicago Int'l. Film Festival
Sydney Film Festival