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Certificate: 12A
Length: 82 mins
Director: Wanuri Kahiu
Cast: Samantha Mugatsia, Neville Misati, Nice Githinji
Language: Swahili with English subtitles

Banned in Kenya for its nuanced depiction of a lesbian romance, Rafiki was a major discovery at Cannes, the first Kenyan film to be shown in Un Certain Regard. From director Wanuri Kahiu, this is a tender and neon-drenched delight about self-discovery.

Tomboy Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) is happy to be accepted as ‘one of the boys’, waiting for the exam results that will determine her future. Her shopkeeper father is vying election, facing off against a slick businessman. When she meets the rival’s daughter, rainbow-dreaded Ziki (Sheila Munyiva), the two women forge a Romeo and Juliet romance.

Generous with its characters and infused with afropop visuals, Rafiki is a quietly revolutionary film from a country where homosexuality is still criminalised.

“A lyrical ode to finding a kindred spirit amidst an uncaring majority.” – Rogerebert.com

“The story’s simplicity and directness are a big part of its charm.” – BBC

“This is a story that may have been told before, sure, but never in this context before. That alone seems worth celebrating.” ★★★ – Guardian