Skip to main content

Wanuri Kahiu

Born in Nairobi, Wanuri is part of the new generation of African storytellers. Her stories and films have received international acclaim and screened in numerous film festivals around the world. To date, Wanuri has written and directed six films. RAFIKI, her second feature film, premiered this year in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section and screened at the New Zealand International Film Festival.

She is the co-founder of AFROBUBBLEGUM, a media company that supports, creates and commissions fun, fierce and frivolous African art. 

 In 2008, Wanuri completed her first feature film FROM A WHISPER based on the real life events surrounding the twin bombings of US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998. The film won awards at the Africa Movie Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Picture, the Golden Dhow award at Zanzibar International Film Festival and Best Film at Kalasha, Kenya Film and TV awards. Shortly after she completed a documentary about the life of Nobel peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai entitled FOR OUR LAND (2009) for M-Net ‘Great Africans’ Series. 

Her short Science Fiction Film PUMZI (2009) that was partially funded by Focus Features, Goethe Institut and Changa Moto Fund in Kenya, screened at Sundance in 2010.PUMZI won Best Short at Cannes Independent Film Festival, May 2010 and took Silver at Carthage Film Festival in 2010. 

 Wanuri was named a TED Fellow in 2017 and World Economic Forum cultural leader in 2018. Wanuri published her first children’s book, The Wooden Camel, she is currently in post production on a feature length documentary “GER” (To Be Separate) and in pre-production on RUSTIES a near future science fiction film set in Nairobi. 

Wanuri is in New Zealand for Big Screen Symposium and #directedbywomen#aotearoa


  • Citta Di Venezia Award/ Venice International Film Festival/ 2010
    PUMZI – South Africa, Kenya, 21 min/ 2010
  • Best Short Film – ARIFF Film Festival/ Port Harcourt/ Nigeria 2010 Silver Prize/
  • Best Short – Carthage Film Festival/ Tunisia/ 2010
  • Best Short – Cannes Independent Film Festival/ France/ 2010
  • Special Jury Prize – Zanzibar International Film Festival/ 2010
    FROM A WHISPER – Kenya, 79 min/ 2008
  • Best Actor – Tarifa Film Festival/ Spain/ 2010
  • Best Picture – Pan African Film Festival Los Angeles/ USA/ 2010
  • Best Feature – ION International Film Festival/ Nigeria/ 2009 Best E. Africa Film – Zanzibar Film Festival/ 2009
  • Best Picture/ Best Director/ Best Soundtrack/ Best Screenplay/ Best Editing – Africa Movie Academy Awards/ Nigeria/2009