Banned Kenyan Lesbian Film Becomes Second-Highest Grossing Film in Kenya

A film that we wrote about last week that was banned and then unbanned (in order to be nominated for an Oscar) in Kenya has become the nation’s second-largest grossing film of all time. The film, Rafiki, needed to be screened in Kenya in order for it to qualify for a Best Foreign Language Oscar. The Director, Wanuri Kahiu, brought the film to the country’s screens for seven days, and in those seven days it grossed $33,000—beating Hollywood movies like The Nun and Night School.

“Thank you so much to all of you who came out and watched the film. Thank you for celebrating Kenyan film with us! We are so grateful. As we return to court to argue for freedom of expression, we carry you with us,” Wanuri said.

“The success of the theatrical release proves that there is a strong commercial market for Rafiki in Kenya,” said producer Steven Markovitz. “We intend to take this film to other African countries to continue to build the case that quality African films are commercially viable on our own continent.”

There is no word yet on whether the massive box office success will get the film permanently unbanned.

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