Kapana @ Pan African Film Festival

A Namibian love story of a different variety. LGBTQ love stories are not new to film but in regards to homosexual love this is the first Namibian film to feature a love story between two men. While some might brush it off, this is a big step. In Namibia homosexual relationships are still stigmatized; it is films like this which will normalize them.

Directed by Philippe Talavera it is a love story with a few other elements instilled. Homosexual sex is still a crime in Namibia. As a result many gay men are deep within the closet. Does not mean that there are none; it just means they keep their personal lives quiet.

After spying each other at a bar, George, a middle class insurance broker who lives in a big city, and Simeon, who lives in a suburb and works at a grilled meat stand at an open market, hook up in the bathroom that first night. When George approaches Simeon the next day when buying lunch at the stand he works at, he gets rebuffed. While George is not out out some of his co-workers know he is gay. Simeon keeps his sexuality hidden. He is angry that George is risking his secret.

After another chance encounter the two have sex again. A relationship begins. Kept secret, of course. Soon it is a completely different type of secret which puts the new love in jeopardy.

Throughout his career director Talavera has shown he is not a man who makes fluff. He makes serious films based on issues. Here besides the fact of making the first homosexual film coming from Namibia there is also an HIV aspect within a relationship which is unpacked.

A film like this strives to make a male-male relationship something we even notice. Who cares who falls in love. The focus should be on the love/human elements and not the who. While it is not a perfect film it is one that shines a positive light on the issue.

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