Rafiki, a lesbian love story in Kenya


Robyn Sassen

A freelance arts writer since 1998, I fell in love with the theatre as a toddler, proved rubbish as a ballerina: my starring role was as Mrs Pussy in Noddy as a seven-year-old, and earned my stripes as an academic in Fine Arts and Art History, in subsequent years. I write for a range of online and print publications, including the Sunday Times, the Mail & Guardian and artslink.co.za and was formerly the arts editor of the SA Jewish Report, a weekly newspaper with which I was associated for 16 years.
Robyn Sassen


CLANDESTINE love: Ziki (Sheila Munyiva) and Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) steal a kiss. Photograph courtesy imdb.com

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THE COMPLEX AND oft blood-stained plight of people with sexual proclivities that digress from hetero-norms has waxed and waned for centuries all over the world. Queer people have alternatively been persecuted, raped, murdered and deemed illegal in society, as they have been embraced and lionised, before the circle turns again. But if you look at the legislation being ratified in various countries right now, and the LGBTIQA+ movement in other contexts, it’s clear that the pendulum still swings dizzily and a young black lesbian is still far from safe. Even on her own turf.

The Kenyan film Rafiki in both English and Swahili with English subtitles takes on all the issues relating to a homophobic society, but injects a bit of saccharine in the plot to make it palatable. It’s saccharine with an edge of scariness, however: this happy ending of the story was one of the…

To read the complete post please visit https://robynsassenmyview.com/2019/08/28/in-love-under-a-dangerous-open-sky/

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