Lesbian movie #Rafiki eligible for Oscars after Kenya temporarily lifts ban

The movie was banned in Kenya on the grounds that it promotes homosexuality, a criminal offence under a colonial-era law.

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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