Forbidden Kenyan love stories told in the Netherlands

March 29, 2015

The now controversial Kenyan film ‘Stories of our Lives’ by Hivos partner The Nest premiered in the Netherlands to large, enthusiastic audiences at the Roze Filmdagen (Pink Film Days) in Amsterdam, and was also screened at Amnesty International’s Movies that Matter The Hague.

The multidisciplinary artist collective The Nest works within the fields of film, visual arts, music and fashion to stir up discussion and dialogue in Kenyan society. ‘Stories of Our Lives’ is a film based on true stories that portrays the situation of the LGBT community in Kenya. The Kenya Film Classification Board has placed a restriction on the film’s exhibition, sale and distribution in Kenya, and producer George Gachara  was arrested for shooting it  without a license.

Together with fellow Nest members Jim Chuchu and Njoki Ngumi, Gachara remains hopeful that ‘Stories of our Lives’  will eventually be shown to Kenyan audiences. ”The film is currently in exile, but I am sure it will come home,” he said.

During Q&As following the sold-out screenings at the Pink Film Days, and in meetings with Dutch parliamentarians from D66, the Labour party (PvdA) and the Christian Democrats (CDA), Chuchu, Ngumi and Gachara stressed the importance of a cultural approach to human rights activism and urged the politicians to maintain an egalitarian relationship with homophobic governments in order to continue a dialogue.

George Gachara also expressed his concern about economic cutbacks on embassies around the world, and organisations such as Hivos, that have supported The Nest. He made it clear that they and other similar organisations absolutely need this support to be continued.

Hivos has supported LGBT rights since the 1990s with financial support, knowledge exchanges and policy advocacy for LGBT rights. Hivos backs the acceptance of sexual minorities, the fight against homophobia, mobilisation for political change and worldwide coalition building.