African storytelling, whether by literature, art or TV and film, is on a visible upswing. Consider Wanuri Kahiu an integral part of that movement. Born and bred in Nairobi, Kenya, Kahiu grew up surrounded by women who actively pursued happiness. As a result, it is her passion to make sure Africans are accurately represented as successful, joy-filled and abundant. The 36-year-old UCLA Film School graduate creative considers herself not only a long-time filmmaker, but an Afrobubblegum-ist. AFROBUBBLEGUM, a manifestation of that joy within her, is her multi-medium platform centered around creating, curating and collecting art in all its forms. Specifically, AFROBUBBLEGUM showcases African art that is vibrant, lighthearted and without a political agenda.
Some of her known works in film include the Sci-Fi short film PUMZI, feature film From A Whisper, and For Our Land, a biographical documentary about Prof. Wangari Maathai for MNET "Great Africans" series. In 2017, Kahiu accomplished her goal of completing her second feature film, RAFIKI. Currently, she is in post-production on GER (To Be Separate), a biographical documentary about Ger Duany, a NY-based Sudanese/American who returns to South Sudan after 18 years of separation to find his family. Kahiu, who finds mentorship and inspiration from Lorraine Hansberry, Octavia Butler and Ava Duvernay, eventually hopes to make a huge blockbuster science fiction/fantasy film set in Africa.
In addition to filmmaking, Kahiu is also an author, having published the children’s book The Wooden Camel as well as the short story “RUSTIES” with science fiction writer, Nnedi Okorafor. The collaborative mindset present in her film, art and literature projects magnifies her stance on community building within the diaspora: “It is the most worthwhile cause. There is no us, without all of us.”