In director/co-writer Wanuri Kahiu’s adaptation of Monica Arac de Nyeko’s award-winning short story “Jambula Tree,” Kena and Ziki long for something other than marriage and motherhood. The teenage girls first meet in their raucous and colorful Nairobi neighborhood and are immediately attracted to one another’s ambition and independent spirit. Despite the political rivalry between their families, they become fast friends against a soundtrack of catchy Afro-pop, sharing their dreams—Kena wants to become a doctor, Ziki yearns to travel—and serving as mutual confidantes and supporters.
But when love blossoms between the two, the wary gaze of their conservative community turns withering, and they realize they will be forced to choose between happiness and safety. (Not coincidentally, Rafiki has been banned in Kenya.)
Producer: Steven Markovitz | Editor: Isabelle Dedieu | Cinematographer: Christopher Wessels | Screenwriter: Wanuri Kahiu, Jenna Bass
Cast: Samantha Mugatsia, Sheila Munyiva, Jimmi Gathu, Nini Wacera, Dennis Musyoka
Additional Countries: South Africa, Germany, Netherlands, France