NAIROBI (Reuters) – A Kenyan judge temporarily lifted a ban on an acclaimed lesbian movie on Friday, making it eligible to be entered for a Foreign Language Oscar, delighting the filmmakers but angering the censor.
“Rafiki” – “Friend” in Swahili – premiered at Cannes, the first Kenyan film to be selected by the prestigious festival, but it was banned at home on the grounds that it promotes homosexuality, a criminal offence under a colonial-era law.
“During the seven day suspension period the film shall only be open for viewing to willing adults only”, Justice Wilfrida Okwany told a packed courtroom in Nairobi.
Okwany said the makers of the film were “hereby allowed to admit the film” to Kenya’s Oscars selection committee.
A Nairobi cinema announced it would screen the movie from Sunday.
Reporting by John Ndiso; Additional reporting by Humphrey Malalo; Writing by Maggie Fick; Editing by Robin Pomeroy