Inxeba, translates to the wound, and with the public outcry against the movie, it seems like some salt has been rubbed into it. Movie directors of the new South African hit movie have been plagued with threats of protests and anger. While Black Panther has been much anticipated, Inxeba seems to be a more controversial topic for many black South Africans.
Inxeba tells the story of a gay factory worker who travels to rural Eastern Cape to oversee the Xhosa initiation process, only to have his secret discovered by one defiant initiate.
Protests about the movie have taken place across the country. Traditionalists say the movie has infringed on the the secrecy around the rite of circumcision. Screenings at some cinemas were cancelled because of protests.
Director John Trengove said in a statement that producers were concerned by threats and had submitted a complaint to the Human Rights Commission, following protests.
“Human rights, freedom of expression, and freedom from gender oppression and inequality are protected by our Constitution. Inxeba is not for everyone, but there are many young South Africans, particularly from the black queer community, who have every right to watch and engage with it because it reflects something of their own experience. The backlash against Inxeba seems to be proportionally much larger than it was to Mandela’s Long Walk To Freedom. You could look at that and speculate that perhaps there is a homophobic subtext.”
Nitesh Matai, General Manager of Nu Metro SA, said the company had reluctantly decided to postpone screenings of the film over protests.
The film has been nominated for eight SA Film and Television Awards (SAFTAS) and has won 19 awards at 44 festivals worldwide. It was also shortlisted for this year’s Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
Fans took to Twitter their views on Inxeba.
I can’t wait to come back home to SA to watch Inxeba. I fully support the movie and I have a suspicion that all the protesting is much ado about nothing. Our culture is not being degraded nor sold. Your manhood is not an cannot be degraded by a simple movie.
— Khaya Dlanga (@khayadlanga) February 2, 2018
My view on #Inxeba outrage: if you are more pressed with a storyline that seeks not to break the seal of secrecy around initiation but centre the voices of silenced gay community in hyper masculine spaces – then your issues lies not with the movie itself but the gay community.
— Nande N (@nandnz) February 2, 2018
As a gay Xhosa man, who did go through the initiation process. I’ve always felt that there’s a lot of homophobia in our culture – it’s seen a normal thing.
#Inxeba is a story that deserved to be told.
— Bantsundu Ncapha (@bantsunduncapha) February 4, 2018
While it’s not screening at any Nu Metro cinema, directors and producers are adamant that the film will be screened.
“Inxeba is not going to go away and we are invested in making sure that people who do want to see the film will get to do so.”
Official Trailer, Inxeba (The Wound)