The latest from Wanuri Kahiu charts a precarious love story between two young Kenyan women in a society where homosexuality is banned.
"Fun, fierce and frivolous African art." This is how director Wanuri Kahiu defines AFROBUBBLEGUM, her vision for the future of filmmaking on the African continent. Her latest feature, which showed at Cannes, embodies this ethos perfectly. A love story between two young women (played by newcomers Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva) in a society that still bans homosexuality, Rafiki is saturated with joy, heartbreak, and a richly effervescent cinematography that showcases Kahiu's native Nairobi in all its vibrancy.
When Kena and Ziki first lock eyes, it's a genuine coup de foudre despite the fact their families are political rivals. The young women grow close, but as they are not able to show their attraction in public — or even to their relatives and friends — they are forced to sneak small moments in private. Together they create their own world, vividly evoked through Kahiu's filmic eye, where their love isn't anything other than an expression of their commitment to each other. The space they create however, isn't immune to the biases of the outside world.
Co-written with Jenna Bass (at TIFF last year with High Fantasy) and inspired by Monica Arac de Nyeko's story Jambula Tree, Rafiki is a celebration of love.
This film has been selected by the TIFF Next Wave Committee for the next generation of film lovers.