Wanuri Kahiu “Rafiki”
A story of romance that grows between two young women amidst family and political pressures around LGBT rights in Kenya.
Goethe Pop Up Seattle, in partnership with Northwest Film Forum, Three Dollar Bill Cinema, and Gay City, presents Queer Cinema from Germany, a virtual film series that serves as an introduction to the multiplicity of stories at the heart of contemporary LGBTIQ+ films.
This film series is part of Queer as German Folk, a project celebrating the intersectional histories of Germany’s and America’s diverse LGBTIQ+ communities. A digitally modified version of the exhibition Queer as German Folk and a full program of virtual events is presented by the Goethe-Institut in North America in collaboration with its Goethe Pop Ups and the Schwules Museum Berlin (SMU).
Please register in advance and pay what you can. All ticket purchases support the community partners.
About the film:
Kenya, Germany, South Africa, Netherlands, France, Norway, Lebanon | 2018 | 83 minutes
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. Based on the award-winning short story "Jambula Tree" (2008) by the Ugandan author Monica Arac de Nyeko, Rafiki tells of an African youth who resolutely rebel against homophobia, religious dogmas and the austerity of their parents. It is a stirring film that glows with a love of freedom and joie de vivre in radiant colors.
About the filmmaker:
Wanuri Kahiu was born in Nairobi and belongs to a new generation of African storytellers. She is co-founder of the media network AFROBUBBLEGUM, which promotes and produces courageous, entertaining and progressive African art. In 2008, Kahiu completed her debut film, From a Whisper, based on the true events of the bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998. The film was nominated in twelve categories at the 2009 Africa Movie Academy Awards and received four awards, including Best Film and Best Director. Shortly afterwards, Kahiu made a documentary about the life of Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, For Our Land (2009). Her short film Pumzi, a science fiction story, was funded by Focus Features, the Goethe-Institut and the Changamoto Foundation in Kenya and premiered in Sundance in 2010. It was awarded at the Cannes Independent Film Festival, the Venice Film Festival, and the Carthage Film Festival.
Kahiu was named a TED Fellow in 2017 and a World Economic Forum Cultural Leader in 2018. She is the author of the children's book The Wooden Camel (2017). She is currently working on her new documentary GER about a young man from Sudan living in New York who returns to his home country and family after 18 years. Kahiu is also preparing her new feature film Rusties, which is set in Nairobi in the near future.
Language: English, Swahili with English subtitles
Part of series Queer as German Folk goes digital