As preparations kick in to select films that will participate in the 91st Oscars, Kenyan movie director, Wanuri Kahiu has gone to court to challenge the decision of the Ezekiel Mutua-led Kenya Film Classification Board over the agency’s decision to ban her movie “Rafiki” on grounds that it promotes lesbianism.
When the film first made its premiere, Ezekiel Mutua had commended it as well as the filmmakers involved, describing it as “a story about the realities of our time” which was why it came as a surprise later on that the same agency led by Mutua banned the movie.
The Kenya Film Classification Board has been controversial with respect to censorship. In 2015, the agency had placed a ban on Hollywood movie, “Fifty Shades of Grey” from showing in Kenya.
Censorship has always had a foothold in most African countries. In South Africa, there was the reclassification of “Inxeba” over its homosexual leanings until the filmmakers went to court and won. In Egypt, “The Nile Hilton Incident” had its screenings shut down by the police over the unacceptable content contained in the movie.
Wanuri Kahiu‘s “Rafiki” was screened at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, making it the first Kenyan film to achieve this feat. If the filmmaker gets the ban reversed, there’s every possibility that “Rafiki” can be Kenya’s representative in the Foreign Language category at the 91st Oscars.