Bursting with the colorful street style and 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 court case chipping away at Kenyan anti-LGBT legislation. Featuring remarkable performances by newcomers Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva. – The Belcourt
“What makes [Wanuri] Kahiu’s film essential beyond…is its ability to instill hope within a hopeless situation. From the colorful opening credits to the stellar soundtrack to the beautiful cinematography putting Kenya’s vibrancy on display, she’s given the world a depiction of romance (same sex or not) that’s just as cute, relatable, and potent as those Americans see every month at their local theaters.” —Jared Mobarak, The Film Stage
“Charismatic performances by Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva make you believe in the characters and invest in the romance. When harsh reality inevitably intrudes on their dream love, the emotional impact is all the deeper.” —Allan Hunter, Screen Daily
“The real story of RAFIKI is how it underlines the reality that even in the 21st century, LGBTQ rights are still far from universal—and not just in Kenya.” —Peter Howell, Toronto Star
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