Rafiki is a 2018 Kenya / South Africa drama by Wanuri Kahiu. Starring Patricia Amira, Muthoni Gathecha and Jimmy Gathu.
Rafiki, which means friend in Swahili, is
adapted from the 2007 Caine Prize-winning short story, Jambula Tree, by Ugandan writer Monica Arac Nyeko. It follows two close friends, Kena and Ziki, who eventually fall in love despite their families being on opposing sides of the political divide.
Rafiki was banned by Kenya's moralist film censor in April 2018 for its gay themes. The film makers have been pursuing the censorship through the courts, on the grounds that Kenya's constitution includes the right to artistic freedom of
But now the High Court of Kenya has upheld the violation of the film makers' rights to freedom of expression ruling that the film's ban:
Does not in any way violate Artistic Freedom of Expression,
but instead protect the society from moral decay
Filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu expressed disappointment in the court's decision:
We are disappointed of course. But I strongly believe in the constitution
and we are not going to give u. I think it is very important for us to define what freedom of expression means in Kenya as per our constitution. We are going to appeal. The ruling today is not a true reflection of what the constitution says.
A petition in Kenya was signed by 51,000 people seeking to ban any content by Disney from showing in Kenya.
The petition cited the examples of Frozen 2 and Beauty & the Beast whose inclusion of gay characters was referred to the
films being laced with gay connotations and sexual undertones not suitable for children.
The petition also cited a gay pride parade held at the Disney theme park in Florida .
However, the Kenyan film censor Ezekiel Mutua said his
team had combed through the trailers of the contentious movies and couldn't identify areas that would warrant a total ban. He added that the board would only make a decision on the movie for its release on November 22, 2019.
A Tanzanian bill was made public on June 19, proposes several changes to the country's censorship laws.
One proposed amendment would remove the current ban on publishing information that could discredit official statistics, but would add an onerous
approval process for those wishing to challenge government data or publish non-official statistics, with criminal penalties for non-compliance.
The bill also establishes a statutory film board, which would have the power to censor films exhibited
in the country, and add a requirement that all foreign companies shooting films in Tanzania, including documentaries, submit raw footage of their work to the board.
The bill, formally known as the Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No3) Act,
2019, is dated May 30, but was not released for public review until June 19.