One of the friends who accompanied her to Rafiki’s first screening in Kenya was Sharon Kioko, a photographer.
The earlier groups flocking to see Rafiki were majority middle-class Kenyans — those who could afford to spend .50 with less than 48 hours’ notice to see a movie — so LGBT organizations stepped in to provide tickets to those who didn’t have enough money.
Some individuals also offered to buy people tickets on Twitter.
Incidentally, the potentially hopeful note was the primary factor that prompted the ban.
At a press screening of the film on Tuesday at the Goethe Institut in Nairobi, Patricia Kihoro, who acted in and selected the music for Rafiki, told the audience that if Kahiu had altered the ending so that it was clear that Kena and Ziki would not live happily ever after, it probably wouldn’t have been banned.
But as a queer Kenyan, Kioko found that several of the subplots in the central love story resonated deeply with her.
She tweeted a thread about it, saying that the film was a powerful statement “for those struggling to be themselves in a chaotic world,” and those who “wept through the movie because that is their reality.”She has friends who were kicked out of their homes when their families learned of their sexuality, and she knows others who won’t watch the film for fear of being perceived as an ally of the LGBT community.Since the ban, it has also shown in Durban, South Africa; Zanzibar, Tanzania; and Toronto, Canada. 12, Wanuri Kahiu, who directed the film, sued the classification board, urging them to lift the ban so that she could submit it as an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.(According to Academy rules, a film has to be shown for seven consecutive days in the country where it was produced in order to be considered a nominee.)And she won. 21, high court judge Wilfrida Okwany handed down a stunning ruling in favor of Kahiu, saying, “I am not convinced that Kenya is such a weak society that its moral fabric will be shaken simply by watching a film depicting gay themes.” She did not order that the ban be permanently lifted — there will be a separate hearing to determine that later on — but she did order that Rafiki be granted the right to show in Kenya for seven consecutive days so that it could have a shot at the Oscars.Rafiki tells the story of two young women, Kena and Ziki, whose fathers are running against each other for a county position in the government.Love blossoms between them, somewhat unexpectedly, but their romance also thrusts them and their families into dangerous territories as they’re forced to grapple with the anti-gay neighborhood gossip, their church, their friends, and their safety.Rather than celebrating her birthday on Saturday night, Ainomugisha brought the party to the movies, complete with a cake decorated with “Happy #Rafiki Day.” She told Buzz Feed News over a cup of tea that as someone firmly embedded in Nairobi’s creative community, she knew several people doing costume design and other types of work on Rafiki.