@TheEastAfrican

Behind the scenes of ‘Rafiki’ at Cannes

3 months ago, 25 Maý 19:29

By: Rupi Mangat

We got stopped on the road, people were saying thank you, everyone resonated with the film and said it was beautiful,” says Samantha Mugatsia, who plays Kena, one of the two lead characters in the Kenyan film Rakifi that was showcased at this year’s Cannes Film Festival in France in May.

Rafiki – loosely based on the novella Jambula Tree by Ugandan author Monica Arac de Nyeko – is about a relationship between two young women in a country where homosexuality is illegal, and society is yet to come to terms with the existence of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, queers, transgenders and intersex people, commonly known as the LGBQTI community.

Rakifi, which means friend in Swahili, is banned in Kenya where it was made, and ironically when it had already been accepted for Cannes — the second most important film festival after the Oscars.

It received rave reviews and got a standing ovation that lasted 10 minutes. Actress Cate Blanchett was moved to tears by the movie and her assistant had to escort her out to have her make-up redone.

“It’s a story that can make people cry because it brings out the vulnerability in everyone,” says Mugatsia.

I met Mugatsia, tall, lanky and soft-spoken, in Westlands in Nairobi. She had just returned from Cannes, and her first observation to me was that the film festival was a world away from Nairobi.

Here there are no red carpets, no one recognising and stopping her on the streets for pictures or commenting on the film. Nairobi is a different reality. Indeed, it is.

The film is banned in Kenya despite having been given the go-ahead to proceed to full production by the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB). The board banned the film even after its writer and producer Wanuri Kahiu kept the board updated.

On April 17, Eziekiel Mutua, KFCB’s chief executive went live on a local radio station supporting the film. Ten days later on April 27, Rafiki was banned.

Mutua wanted the ending of the film to be changed to the two main characters showing remorse for being in a same-sex relation, which the director Kahiu refused to do. She insisted on a happy ending because she wanted to make a happy film.

Being discovered

Mugatsia, born in 1992 in Nairobi, is a drummer with a local band, the Yellow Machine. She’s a final year student of law at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Nairobi.

She however put her studies on hold to do the film, much to her mother’s chagrin. “She has to complete her studies,” says her mother Grace Gitau. “She’s nearly done anyway.”

It was serendipity that got Mugatsia the role of Kena, one of the two main characters.

“I was attending an artists’ pop-in in Westlands sometime in November 2016. My friend Musa Omusi, the creator of the fashion brand Bongo Sawa (like minds) had invited me.

“I was introduced to Kahiu of Afro Bubble Gum Films. The following day, she sent me a text message after she got my mobile phone number from ...
Read More


Category: topnews news magazine

Suggested

4 minutes
@TheStar - By: Dpps @dpps_ke
Ruto, Museveni talk trade, EAC integration in Entebbe

DP William Ruto on Sunday held talks with President Yoweri Museveni at State House in Entebbe, Uganda.The deliberations focused on trade between Kenya and Uganda as well as integration issues in East ...

Category: topnews news
1 hours ago, 16:54
@CITIZENTV - By: Reuters
Simeone hopes Atletico resist PSG offer for Filipe Luis

Simeone ...

Category: topnews news
1 hours ago, 16:19
@CITIZENTV - By: Benjamin Muriuki
Duale wants Chief Kadhi investigated for contradicting Matiang’i on Idd-Ul-Adha

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale wants the Chief Kadhi investigated for contradicting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i's announcement that Idd ul-Adha holiday be marked on Tuesday ...

Category: topnews news
29 minutes
@DailyNation - By: Mary Wambui
Sacco loses 12 buses and a lorry in mysterious fire

The vehicles belonging to Chania Special Travellers Sacco were burnt inside a garage on Saturday. ...

Category: topnews news counties
42 minutes
@DailyNation - By: Kevin J. Kelley
Lawyers: Akashas should not stand trial in US

Brothers charged with conspiring to smuggle 98kg of heroin into the US. ...

Category: news topnews
40 minutes
@CapitalFMNews - By: Dpps
DP Ruto holds talks with President Museveni, launch road project

ENTEBBE, Uganda, Aug 19 -Deputy President William Ruto Sunday held talks with President Yoweri Museveni at State House in Entebbe. The deliberations - Kenya breaking news | Kenya news today | Capitalf ...

Category: topnews

@TheEastAfrican

Behind the scenes of ‘Rafiki’ at Cannes

3 months ago, 25 Maý 19:29

By: Rupi Mangat

We got stopped on the road, people were saying thank you, everyone resonated with the film and said it was beautiful,” says Samantha Mugatsia, who plays Kena, one of the two lead characters in the Kenyan film Rakifi that was showcased at this year’s Cannes Film Festival in France in May.

Rafiki – loosely based on the novella Jambula Tree by Ugandan author Monica Arac de Nyeko – is about a relationship between two young women in a country where homosexuality is illegal, and society is yet to come to terms with the existence of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, queers, transgenders and intersex people, commonly known as the LGBQTI community.

Rakifi, which means friend in Swahili, is banned in Kenya where it was made, and ironically when it had already been accepted for Cannes — the second most important film festival after the Oscars.

It received rave reviews and got a standing ovation that lasted 10 minutes. Actress Cate Blanchett was moved to tears by the movie and her assistant had to escort her out to have her make-up redone.

“It’s a story that can make people cry because it brings out the vulnerability in everyone,” says Mugatsia.

I met Mugatsia, tall, lanky and soft-spoken, in Westlands in Nairobi. She had just returned from Cannes, and her first observation to me was that the film festival was a world away from Nairobi.

Here there are no red carpets, no one recognising and stopping her on the streets for pictures or commenting on the film. Nairobi is a different reality. Indeed, it is.

The film is banned in Kenya despite having been given the go-ahead to proceed to full production by the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB). The board banned the film even after its writer and producer Wanuri Kahiu kept the board updated.

On April 17, Eziekiel Mutua, KFCB’s chief executive went live on a local radio station supporting the film. Ten days later on April 27, Rafiki was banned.

Mutua wanted the ending of the film to be changed to the two main characters showing remorse for being in a same-sex relation, which the director Kahiu refused to do. She insisted on a happy ending because she wanted to make a happy film.

Being discovered

Mugatsia, born in 1992 in Nairobi, is a drummer with a local band, the Yellow Machine. She’s a final year student of law at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Nairobi.

She however put her studies on hold to do the film, much to her mother’s chagrin. “She has to complete her studies,” says her mother Grace Gitau. “She’s nearly done anyway.”

It was serendipity that got Mugatsia the role of Kena, one of the two main characters.

“I was attending an artists’ pop-in in Westlands sometime in November 2016. My friend Musa Omusi, the creator of the fashion brand Bongo Sawa (like minds) had invited me.

“I was introduced to Kahiu of Afro Bubble Gum Films. The following day, she sent me a text message after she got my mobile phone number from ...
Read More

Category: topnews news magazine

Suggested

4 minutes
@TheStar - By: Dpps @dpps_ke
Ruto, Museveni talk trade, EAC integration in Entebbe

DP William Ruto on Sunday held talks with President Yoweri Museveni at State House in Entebbe, Uganda.The deliberations focused on trade between Kenya and Uganda as well as integration issues in East ...

Category: topnews news
1 hours ago, 16:54
@CITIZENTV - By: Reuters
Simeone hopes Atletico resist PSG offer for Filipe Luis

Simeone ...

Category: topnews news
1 hours ago, 16:19
@CITIZENTV - By: Benjamin Muriuki
Duale wants Chief Kadhi investigated for contradicting Matiang’i on Idd-Ul-Adha

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale wants the Chief Kadhi investigated for contradicting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i's announcement that Idd ul-Adha holiday be marked on Tuesday ...

Category: topnews news
29 minutes
@DailyNation - By: Mary Wambui
Sacco loses 12 buses and a lorry in mysterious fire

The vehicles belonging to Chania Special Travellers Sacco were burnt inside a garage on Saturday. ...

Category: topnews news counties
42 minutes
@DailyNation - By: Kevin J. Kelley
Lawyers: Akashas should not stand trial in US

Brothers charged with conspiring to smuggle 98kg of heroin into the US. ...

Category: news topnews
40 minutes
@CapitalFMNews - By: Dpps
DP Ruto holds talks with President Museveni, launch road project

ENTEBBE, Uganda, Aug 19 -Deputy President William Ruto Sunday held talks with President Yoweri Museveni at State House in Entebbe. The deliberations - Kenya breaking news | Kenya news today | Capitalf ...

Category: topnews
Our App