Rafiki lead Samantha Mugatsia receives Best Actress award in the Fespaco Film Festival

Samantha Mugatsia is a star, and there is no denying it.

The lead actress from the banned lesbian love story “Rafiki” was feted at the Fespaco Film Festival in Burkina Faso. The young actress came to fame with the release of the Wanuri Kahiu directed film “Rafiki.” The film that debuted at Cannes Film Festival in May 2018 received rave reviews abroad, winning several awards in 2018 including the Bratislava International Film Festival Viewer’s Choice Award, Fiction Feature Film in the 2018 Carthage Film Festival, the Silver Q-Hugo Chicago International Film Festival, as well as the Audience Award at the NewFest: New York’s LGBT Film Festival.

The film based on Jambula Tree, a prize-winning short story by Ugandan writer Monica Arac de Nyeko, launched the acting career of Mugatsia and many others. Despite being banned at home, the ground-breaking production has been deservedly celebrated the world over.  Celebrating the win, film director Wanuri Kahiu retweeted:

As earlier reported by The Sauce, the 82-minute film is set to redefine love in conservative Africa. Speaking out against the ban, cast-member Nini Wacera spoke to The Sauce saying “I don’t listen to Ezekiel Mutua.. the ban is ridiculous. This (movie) is not about whether you are gay or not, this is about freedom of expression and as an artist, we tell stories about things that are happening in society. As filmmakers, we are activists in a way because we bring issues that need to be highlighted to the public.”

The “Rafiki” legal team continue to protest the ban, with court proceedings scheduled for today (4.03.2019) to seek changes that will allow for more filmmakers to tell Kenyan stories, without being gagged by government bans. Taking to Twitter, Director Wanuri shared her mission ahead of the proceedings:

Today’s proceeding to change the course of Kenya’s creative industry.

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