Blog 4: Rafiki (Kenya, 2018)

During the International Women’s Week, on March 5th, I attended the screening of the film titled “Rafiki” in the auditorium. The key message I got from this movie is that homosexuality is still not accepted in many countries, such as Kenya. Indeed, in this movie, Kena and Ziki fall in love both being young women having parents that are rivals in the upcoming elections. Despite how they feel about each other, homosexuality is frowned upon by the conservative community that they live in. Kena and Ziki were aware of these realities and had to hide their love in the public. However, they are beaten up by the community when they are exposed as being homosexuals, which shows the cruelty as well as the closed-mindedness of the community. This film shows that the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is not over and that everybody has to continue to fight for equal rights between people of all sexualities. 

Some students reacted very emotionally even shedding tears while watching this movie as the two women who loved each other in the film had to hide their emotions to not be frowned upon by their community and because these women were hurt physically because of their sexual orientation, which is definitely hard to watch. Others were shocked by the fact that this inequality still happens today. 

This screening made me think differently as I was unaware of the extent to which some people are treated solely because of their sexual orientation. This is very alarming as I believe that people should be treated equally no matter their sexual orientation. The community completely rejected Kena and Ziki and believed they were possessed by demons for being themselves. They were beaten up to the point that they were bleeding and even Kena’s own mother, as well as Ziki’s parents, rejected them. This made me think that we have to continue to fight for LBGTQ+ rights in order for people to be treated equally no matter their sexuality. 

Additional information that I can add to my review would be the fact that this film was nominated as the best foreign-language film at the Oscar Awards. However, it was later removed from its nomination as Kenya officials banned the film for promoting lesbianism. This information shows that still today some officials are homophobic and that people have to continue to fight for equality for people in the LBGTQ+ community. Even in big award shows, there is inequality based on one’s sexual orientation.

I would recommend this film to my friends as it is a beautiful film that shows the love between Kena and Ziki. This film shows the reality of a conservative country, such as Kenya. In addition, it is a movie from African cinema, This allows people to explore movies from a different region as many people, nowadays, only watch very popular movies from Hollywood. This movie opens the mind of its viewers making them think about the society we live in today. In my opinion, this is a must-watch movie for everybody.

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