kenya temporarily lifts ban on lesbian film so it qualifies for the oscars

For just one week 'Rafiki' is showing in Kenya — and audiences are turning out in droves.

by i-D Team
27 September 2018, 4:48am

Image via YouTube

Kenyan audiences wanting to see independent film Rafiki, which was banned in its home country for "promoting lesbianism", have been turning out to screenings in droves after a judge overturned the ban for just one week.

Rafiki tells the story of two girls in Nairobi from opposing political backgrounds who fall for each other. It premiered at Cannes earlier this year as the first Kenyan film ever to be on the festival's program but at the same time it was banned in Kenya. A Kenyan High Court judge recently overturned the ban for one week so that Rafiki would be eligible for Best Foreign Language film at next year's Academy Awards. According to the Academy's rules a film must be shown in the country where it was produced for seven consecutive days to be eligible.

The ruling only allows those 18 and over to see the film and only if they attend daytime screenings at selected cinemas in Kenya. Despite the restricted access it's still a huge win for LGBTQ visibility in the country, although there's still a lot of work to be done before Kenyan LGBTQ people are safe in their county. Advocacy groups in Kenya are currently trying to decriminalize gay sex in the country similar to how India did earlier this month. Currently anyone caught engaging ins same-sex intercourse can be punished with up to 14 years in prison.

Rafiki is screening in Kenya until September 29, follow their Twitter account for updates.

This article originally appeared on i-D AU.

LGBTQ film