For Women International Week I went to see a movie called Rafiki. This movie talks about the life of two girls named Ziki and Kena who live in the country of Kenya. Both of their families are politicians and are fighting against each other. After meeting a couple of times, Ziki and Kena started loving each other despite their families being rivals. Kenya is a country that strictly prohibits homosexuality and now they both have to remain quiet about their feelings and make sure to not revealing to the public. In addition, it was nominated for the best foreign language film at 91st Academy Awards, however, it was later removed because the Kenyan authorities banned this film for promoting homosexuality, which is against the law. Furthermore, the key message I got from this screening was that love does not depend on your gender. Love is non-binary which means that it is not restricted to femininity and masculinity. Moreover, the director and writer of Rafiki, Wanuri Kahiu is against any labels. In a Ted Talk, she said, “I am a filmmaker, not Black African filmmaker, I am only a filmmaker”. She is a feminist, so she wants equality between men and women and this film portrayed her views on what she believes is the right thing to do.
The screening of this movie did not make me think differently about LGBTQ+ rights. Before watching the film, I was already aware that we already need to have equal rights both politically and socially. However, when I watched the movie what made me think differently is that for some societies it is more difficult to have these rights be implemented. For instance, in the movie, there was a clear representation of the role of religion in Kenya. The church is important for the Kenyan population and the is the factor that prevents people to change their minds about the LGBTQ+ society. For western societies is difficult as well, but religious factors are no longer involved politically.
After watching the film, I interviewed some students about how they felt about the movie. All the students that I interviewed really liked the movie. They said that it had a great storyline and did not know that this film even existed and that they are more open to watching foreign movies. I asked the students “what do you think about the movie”? One student said that it really represented how the LGBTQ+ community feels in society. She told me that at first, her parents were not supportive of her being lesbian and that she related to the character Ziki. The parents of the character were angry and disappointed at her when her relationship with Kena was revealed. They even slapped her in the face. In addition, another student said that we need to promote equal rights in other parts of the world and show them how it is beneficial for society. He told me that he does not know that Kenya was that strict on homosexuality.
In conclusion, I would recommend watching Rafiki to my friends. I feel that most people are used to watch commercial movies and do not give enough credit to international movies. This movie had a great love story and a message that could be applied to everyone around the world which will change the perspective of other individuals on the idea of the LGBTQ+ community. This screening enables people to have empathy for the characters. I could feel the emotions of Kena and Ziki even though I am not part of the LGBTQ+ community. Overall, this, in my opinion, this movie could have won the Acadamy Award for the Best Foreign Language Movie.