Street-smart tomboy Kena and rainbow-haired free spirit Ziki both dream of a life beyond the stifling confines of their conservative Nairobi neighbourhood. From the moment the two young women meet, the connection is clear and soon their budding friendship blossoms into something more serious, forcing them to make an impossible choice between happiness and safety.
Freelance film programmer Elaine Lillian Joseph explains why she chose Rafiki to be included in our July line-up: "All the beauty and defiance and joy of young Black queer love is on display in Wanuri Kahiu’s Rafiki. I picked it because I haven’t seen many films by Kenyan directors and I’ve often replayed scenes from this film in my mind. The vivid use of colours that ooze from the screen particularly stuck with me.
"The Nairobi backstreets, the night club lights and one of the protagonist’s crown of pastel-hued faux locs. The pride flag colours are all present at various stages of the film, woven into hairstyles or scattered across outfits. Rafiki has this moreish sweet sugar rush aftertaste and I strongly desire a spin off series or, at the very least, a sequel.
"I was privileged enough to see this film at its UK premiere in London, where the director talked about the struggle to get it past the Kenyan censor board and her commitment to celebrating LGBT love on screen (It’s currently illegal to promote homosexuality in Kenya). Hopefully by continuing to screen it and talk about it, we stand in solidarity with persecuted gay people in Kenya and remind ourselves that seeing the highs and lows of Black queer love on screen can still be a radical image."
MAC’s reopening cinema programme has been generously supported by BFI FAN Covid-19 Resilience fund from the National Lottery, through the BFI Film Audience Fund.
Fancy a meal or drinks before your film? Book now for KILN - serving hot food until 6pm, with last bookings 5.30pm, and serving bar snacks, mezze boards, desserts and drinks until 8pm. Duration includes trailers and adverts. Please note that we do not admit latecomers after the main feature has started and we have a limited food & drink policy. See more information about Relaxed Screenings here. Please read our new Visitor Guidelines before booking your event.