Director: Wanuri Kahiu

Screenwriter: Wanuri Kahiu, Jenna Bass

Producer: Steven Markovitz

Editor: Isabelle Dedieu

Cast: Samantha Mugatsia, Sheila Munyiva, Neville Misati, Jimmy Gathu, Nini Wacera

Cinamatographer: Christopher Wessels






Madison Premiere • narrative • Kenya, South Africa, France, Lebanon, Norway, The Netherlands, Germany • 2018 • DCP • English, Swahili with English subtitles • 82 MIN

section: New International Cinema

Kena spends her days skateboarding and hanging out with friends in her Nairobi neighborhood, as she waits on exam results to start nurse training. When charismatic, rainbow-haired Ziki catches Kena's eye one afternoon, they quickly begin a tender, private romance that is complicated by their rival political families and prohibited by their conservative, religious environment. As Ziki and Kena grow closer, their parents, friends, and neighbors notice and react with rumors threatening the love and joy the young women find in each other. With its expressive cinematography and vivid settings and costumes, Rafiki portrays Ziki and Kena's relationship with both realism and hope, grounded in the understated, beautiful performances of lead actresses Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva. Director Wanuri Kahiu's vibrant sophomore feature was Kenya's first entry at the Cannes Film Festival, but it was banned in its home country for its positive representation of a same-sex romance. (MSJ)

Presented with support from UW–Madison African Studies Program and Gender & Sexuality Campus Center (GSCC)