Wanuri Kahiu co-founded the ‘Afrobubblegum’ movement to promote a fun, fierce, and fantastical representation of Africa. She is one of the up and coming African directors that will probably break through Hollywood at some point due to her sheer talent. Rafiki is Kahiu’s second feature length film and it rocked the Cannes Film Festival as the very first Kenyan film to ever screen at the festival. However, the film was banned in her home country because of its controversial homosexual themes. She went to court and got the film into Nairobi theaters for only a week but that really sucks because the people that need to see Rafiki are definitely the people running things in Kenya.
Kena is a young girl living in Nairobi with her mother who helps her father at his convenience store as he campaigns for the local election. Kena’s parents don’t really speak to one another and they don’t really know their daughter. Kena flirts with another local girl named Ziki, who is the daughter of her father's political rival. Kena and Ziki fall in love, but their family and friends don’t see it as pure love. The two girls are forced to choose between their love for one another and their safety.
Rafiki is an invigorating experience knowing that it’s a rebellious film in Kenya. It’s also sad that a film showcasing two girls falling in love is even thought about as an issue. I thoroughly enjoyed the performances given by Samantha Mugatsia as Kena and Sheila Munyiva as Ziki mainly because I believe every second of their relationship on screen. Wanuri Kahiu shows a tremendous amount of style throughout Rafiki and clearly has plenty to say about the views of homosexuality in her home country. It’s important to get perspective by watching films that aren’t made here in the US. When you gain some understanding about another country's culture, you begin to understand them as humans more.