This is the story of Samuel, whose love story was tenderly portrayed in the documentary I am Samuel. A young man from a poor family in Western Kenya, Samuel moved to Nairobi to find a job, but also to explore his identity as a gay man. He found it impossible to do so in rural Kenya, where his conservative family expected him to marry and sire children to keep the family name. In Nairobi, he found the relief he needed. He got a job and a community of gay men who accepted him. In Nairobi, he found the space to explore relationships, and he eventually met Alex—the man he referred to as the love of his life.
Queer intimacy is frowned upon in Kenya. By loving his boyfriend, Alex, Samuel found himself at odds with his family’s traditions and his country’s laws. His family denounced him. Unknown assailants beat his close friend and Samuel had to move houses to feel safer. Yet Samuel pursued and nurtured his relationship with Alex. The documentary showcases many moments defining their love life: long quiet walks in the park, a birthday party, visits to Samuel’s rural home, where Alex is introduced to Samuel’s family, and a “commitment” ceremony. The documentary takes us through the arch of their joys and discontents, their triumphs and sorrows, as they hold on to their love.
Upon the release of the documentary, Kenya was no longer safe for the two of them. Alex had managed to relocate before the documentary was banned, while
Samuel sought asylum in Sweden, where he now lives. This is an expansion of Samuel’s story, showing his ever-evolving perspective after the airing of the documentary.