Outrage after Wanuri accuses Kenyans of not supporting lesbian film “Rafiki”


Filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu on Monday 29 found herself doing some unexpected damage control following her recent talk on Design Indaba.

Wanuri, who is behind ‘Rafiki’, a love story of two teenage girls who develop a romance opposed by their families and community, shot down a report that the film wasn’t a success locally because they didn’t support it.

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The Star newspaper ran an article of Wanuri accusing Kenyans of not supporting the film.

The reason ‘Rafiki’ is not watched in Kenya is that Kenyans didn’t advocate for it,” The Star quoted her.

“When you see a non-white person creating a film, go out and buy a ticket. You don’t have to watch it but do it for the data.
“So that the next time I am creating a film of joy with people of colour, I can say, look at the data because the only thing we have had recently is the Black Panther, which cannot be the only film to be used explain our diversity.”

In a series of tweets, the popular filmmaker is now accusing the newspaper of misquoting her and twisting her words. She vehemently made it clear the movie blew up because of Kenyans.

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“Dear @TheStarKenya why the lies? Not only do you misquote you make up quotes???? Why??? KENYANS ARE THE REASON THE FILM WAS SUCCESSFUL!!!!! Don’t lie!,” she said in one tweet.

“RAFIKI became one the country’s largest grossing releases!!! People turned up! People supported! Other countries that want POC actors and directors should emulate Kenyan audiences!!! We want quality stories of ourselves + when released we watch them!” she adds in another.

The mix-up has resulted to a Twitter battle as many rushed online to air their views. While some were quick to bash the newspaper, others pointed out that she’s actually guilty as charged.

The Star quoted her from her presentation. In the video, Wanuri says that although Kenya Film Classification Board banned the controversial film, Kenyans not advocating for it was the reason why it was not played locally.

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“While the Kenya Film Classification Board was the reason why my film was banned, the audience is the reason why it doesn’t play in Kenya.” she says in the talk.

“And as an audience member, If you want to see more people of color on your screens, if you want to hear more voices of diversity, then it’s your responsibility not ours only as filmmakers, artists and creators to fight.”

Watch the full talk below: