There are tens of films made by and for Kenya. Unfortunately, most of them have not received the level of exposure and appreciation they deserve. You might have even watched some without knowing that they were made in Kenya. Below are some examples of Kenyan films and shows that you should look for when learning more about Kenyan culture.
Nairobi Half Life follows the life of a young man who was so eager to live his ancestral home and go into the big city; Nairobi. However, he soon found out that the stories of an easy life and many opportunities in the capital is highly exaggerated and not as common as it is made to be. He quickly falls into brokenness after being robbed and has to find ways to survive. That is how he joins a group of robbers, an action whose consequences gravely follow him thereafter. Directed by Kenya’s own David Gitonga, the film features local talent such as Joseph Wairimu ”Mwas”, Olwenya Maina “‘Oti” and Shix Kapienga” Amina”.
Shuga is not a movie but a short series that is a product of MTV. It was first aired in 2009 in Kenya, a series whose main aim was to spread the knowledge on then-current issues including the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS, adolescent and young adult relationships, social status and living in Africa generally. Although Shuga was not a Kenyan born concept, it is still the country’s pride and joy given its pioneer status in the show. The project brought to light some of the now-famous actors including Lupita Nyong’o, Nick Mutuma and Nini Wacera. The Show went on to other countries including Nigeria and South Africa.
Rafiki is one of the most controversial movies ever made in Kenya, thanks to its delving into waters not often chattered by Kenyan Folk; sexuality. Being a religious country, Kenya rarely entertains the notion of having a population that lives different from the normal and majorly ‘legal’ way of heterosexuality. Therefore, when Wanuri Kahiu presented this film of two girls who fell in love with each other despite their families’ resistance, a few buttons were pushed. It was banned almost as soon as it was released. But the film has received so much international acclaim compared to other Kenyan films. It is now available in most cinemas and online platforms.
Katja Benrath is the director of this 23 minutes long Kenyan movie released in 2017. It was made to tell the story of a group of individuals in a bus in northern Kenya who stood together in solidarity despite their different religious beliefs. North Eastern Kenya is known to be notorious with terrorist attacks against non-Muslims. However, in this story, the cast shows how terrorism has no standing if everyone sticks out their neck for the other. The movie is based on a true story.