WANURI KAHIU: ONE OF KENYA’S GREATNESS

Wanuri Kahiu's work has garnered her numerous accolades and recognition. She is a TED Fellow and has received awards such as...
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Wanuri Kahiu is a renowned Kenyan film director, producer, and author. She was born on January 21, 1980, in Nairobi, Kenya. Kahiu is known for her bold and innovative storytelling, often exploring themes of identity, love, and African culture in her work. She is considered to be “one of Africa’s most aspiring directors, being part of a new, vibrant crop of talents representing contemporary African culture

Kahiu gained international recognition with her short film “Pumzi” (2009), which depicts a dystopian future in a water-scarce East Africa. The film received critical acclaim and was screened at numerous film festivals worldwide. Though Pumzi not being her first work of art, she had worked on “The Spark that unites” (2006), “Ras Star” (2006), “From a Whisper” (2008) just to name a few.

In 2018, Kahiu directed her first feature film titled “Rafiki”. The movie tells the story of two young women who fall in love in a society where same-sex relationships are considered taboo. “Rafiki” made history as the first Kenyan film to be selected for the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. However, it was initially banned in Kenya due to its LGBTQ+ content. The ban was later temporarily lifted to allow the film to qualify for the Academy Awards. She has worked on many other movies and also produced a hand full of them. She also has other movies that are yet to be announced on which she is still working on them.

Apart from her filmmaking career, Kahiu is also an accomplished author. She has written several children’s books, including; “Rusties” (2016) in which it was published in Clarkesworld Magazine, and “The Wooden Camel” (2017). Her books often celebrate African culture and promote diversity and inclusion.

Wanuri Kahiu’s work has garnered her numerous accolades and recognition. She is a TED Fellow and has received awards such as the Trailblazer Award at the 2018 Outfest Fusion Gala, among others. Kahiu continues to push boundaries and challenge societal norms through her storytelling, making her an influential figure in the African film industry. Kahiu engages with African futurism, both in her artistic creation and as inspiration. Drawing on the depth, power, and histories of African mythologies, spiritualities, and naturalisms, Kahiu has made the argument that African peoples and cultures have been engaging in Afrofuturistic thought for centuries, if not longer. She has critiqued the ways in which Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) control the popular imagination of Africa. She has expressed that how you get money to be able to be a filmmaker in Kenya is through making films about whatever NGOs are funding – films that are about AIDS or female genital mutilation.

Wanuri Kahiu has contributed a lot in the success of her country and till date she still has one or two things to always contribute that will better the future of her nation and Africa as a whole.

  Delia Nyadi

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