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‘Rafiki’ Screenings Sell Out After Kenya Lifts Ban

Rafiki, Kenya

Rafiki, a Kenyan drama centered on a lesbian romance, has premiered to sold-out crowds in the East African country after the government temporarily lifted its ban on the LGBTQ film, according to CNN.

The Wanuri Kahiu-directed film is based on Jambula Tree, the 2007 Caine Prize-winning short story by Monica Arac de Nyeko. It premiered to rave reviews at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. In April, however, Kenya’s Film and Classification Board prohibited the screening of the film because of its lesbian theme.

Kahiu filed a lawsuit challenging the censorship of the film earlier this month. The director’s legal team argued that her right to free speech was violated.

The temporary lift allows individuals 18 and older to watch the movie between Sept. 23  and  Sept. 29.

Kenyan-born actress Lupita Nyong’o showed support for the movie, tweeting, “Great news. The Kenyan High Court lifted the ban on the film #RAFIKI and it plays for only 7 days making it eligible for Academy Awards submission! Run and go see it!”

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