Rafiki actress Samantha Mugatsia has won the Best Actress award from Burkina Faso's Fespaco Film Festival, Africa's largest film festival.
Mugatsia won for her role as Kena, one half of a couple in love despite the homophobia present in their community. The film also stars Sheila Munyiva as Ziki, Kena's girlfriend.
As we have documented on S&A, Rafiki was banned in Kenya due to its subject matter featuring a lesbian couple. Via a lawsuit against the Kenyan government, the film's director, Wanuri Kahiu, was able to win a temporary lift of the ban so the film could be eligible for Oscars contention.
As Joi Childs wrote for S&A in her TIFF review of the film, "It's undoubtedly a shame that the film's home country wasn't initially willing to acknowledge the beauty of Rafiki's depictions of lesbian love and countless other real-life same-sex relationships. Kahiu's film reinforces that being who you are and loving in spite of the opinions of others is still a revolutionary act."