Inspired by the 2007 Caine Prize Winning short story “Jambula Tree” by Ugandan writer Monica Arac de Nyeko, RAFIKI is a witty, playful and touching portrait of a community affected by a relationship that blossoms between two young women. This politically timely film celebrates love and asks whether it’s safer being invisible or it’s better to defy conservative rules, while discovering your identity and destiny through love.
The film is a combination of struggle and the power to dream and love. The love story resonated with Wanuri Kahiu, who had the vision to change the setting to Kenya and place the film in a vibrant, present-day urban environment. Kahiu worked with co-writer Jenna Bass and together they added further elements to the screenplay that speak to the present-day concerns and conflicts affecting people like Kena and Ziki even in young, vibrant, millennial Nairobi.
The film marks the powerful acting and screen debut of Samantha Mugatsia, enigmatic drummer, visual artist, and member of Nairobi’s electric underground band Yellow Light Machine who stars as Kena, alongside the charismatic, raw talent of young actress Sheila Munyiva as Ziki. The young actresses are supported by renowned Kenyan talent like Jimmi Gathu, Nini Wacera, Patricia Amira and Dennis Musyoka.
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