Wanuri rues friction with state over 'Rafiki' ban

Director advocated freedom of expression at Davos summit

In Summary

• Having her work banned made her feel like she was against the government

Wanuri in Davos
Wanuri in Davos
Image: Courtesy

Film director Wanuri says the ban on 'Rafiki' made her feel like she was against the government.

Speaking at a World Economic Forum in Davos during a session that was webcast last week, Wanuri said freedom of expression is one of the rights that we practice most.

"The ban meant it pitted you against the government and makes you feel, your work is somehow unpatriotic," she said.


"I was really surprised. What was astonishing about the ban was the reason Kenya Film Commission Board gave. KFCB cited that the movie was not remorseful enough."

At first, her parent only heard an officer of the government say her work was so absurd and violent that no voting adult in Kenya could see it.

"That is all they heard, then the movie was banned and although they wanted to advocate and support my work, they couldn't," she said.

Wanuri says the lesson she has learnt from the ban of her film is that freedom of expression is not a luxury, it is freedom.

"I voted for our constitution knowing my rights as a woman are protected and that my rights as an artist, especially freedom of expression, were enshrined in the constitution," she said.

The 'Rafiki' court case judgement will be made on March 26. "We know it will probably go into an appeal and maybe a couple of times," she said.