People were angry then and they are even more angry now.
Since the trailer for the South African film The Wound (Inxeba) dropped in March last year, the backlash began to build steam – and it has only been exacerbated since the movie was released in cinemas nationwide on Friday.
So much so that the producers of the film are now getting involved, responding to threats which led to “several screenings of the movie being cancelled,” reports Times LIVE.
More from Quartz:
An openly gay city boy is Xolani’s charge this season, threatening to reveal Xolani’s own unspoken truth. Kwanda’s expensive sneakers and his insistence on wearing a nose ring along with his traditional initiates garb challenges notions of traditional masculinity in this rural setting, while his constant clashes with the other initiates openly question what it means to be a Xhosa man. Among the complex set of characters is Vija, a man trapped by his own traditions and social expectations of who must be as a man.
Thankfully, no major incidents have taken place in response to the film’s release, except for a public debate on masculinity, cultural appropriation and the lengths communities have to go to protect their traditions.
You see, two aspects of the film that run side-by-side have caused controversy; the telling of a gay man’s story in the context of the Xhosa tradition:
Critics argue that the film threatens to reveal the secrets of ulwaluko, Xhosa initiation rituals that are purposely shrouded in mystery. Each year, thousands of South African boys undergo circumcision as a rite of passage across several different cultures.
Instead, its questions about manhood and being gay in South Africa are what drive the story in a country where same-sex marriage may be legal, but homophobic murders are rarely adequately prosecuted. This is also not the first time LGBTQI rights have been discussed within this rite of passage. It isn’t even the first time the process has been publicly discussed, as former president Nelson Mandela described his own experience in his bestselling memoir Long Walk to Freedom.
Here’s the trailer:
Nu Metro general manager Nitesh Matai said the “company had reluctantly decided to postpone screenings of the film over protests”, in the interest of the safety of their staff and customers.
Ster Kinekor also withdrew the film from some of their cinemas in the Eastern and Western Cape . Take a look at the reaction from the people after the decision was announced:
A small group of people celebrate at #BaywestMall after it was announced that the controversial movie #Inxeba (#TheWound) has been suspended at Ster-Kinekor Baywest. https://t.co/OirSM6OISr pic.twitter.com/F5dayhdl5d
— HeraldLIVE (@HeraldPE) February 2, 2018
Inxeba’s director John Trengove said in a statement that producers were concerned with the threats and had submitted a complaint to the Human Rights Commission, following Friday’s 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.
“This is disgraceful and should be troubling to all of us, especially to those that believe in the freedom granted to South Africans by our constitution. That is why we are now fighting back to make sure that our rights are protected while the threats persist.”
A video, created by Politcally Aweh, looks at both sides of the argument:
Despite the threats, producers claimed the film was one of the most popular at cinemas over the weekend and was not going to be removed entirely.
“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.”
If Inxeba isn’t your thing, then that’s okay. We’ll sidestep that controversy and take a look at more South African content nominated for the 12th annual SAFTAs (South African Film and Television Awards):
Point of Order
Inspired by the shenanigans in the South African Parliament, Point of Order is a comedy panel show that allows SA’s top comedians and special celebrity guests to talk politics like real MPs, perhaps with a little more sense and sensibility.
It’s up for Best Game Show, a category it won last year. As Madame Speaker, Tumi Morake is also competing in the public vote for Best Presenter:
New episodes added weekly on Showmax.
Vlees Van My Vlees
Twelve years after a car accident, a jovial man (James Alexander) and his quadriplegic wife (Erica Wessels) celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary.
Matthys Boshoff’s Vlees Van My Vlees is nominated for the SAFTA for Best Short Film, and is also currently screening at Clermont-Ferrand, the world’s top short film festival in France:
MTV Shuga: Down South
With South Africa as its canvas, the new series of MTV Shuga tells the tale of sex, friendship & despair. Set in the cool spots of Braamfontein and ‘Zenzele’.
Nominated for the SAFTA for Best Youth Programme: Non-Fiction.
Showmax has the first five seasons of the popular educational youth drama available to binge. Whoop.
Don’t have Showmax? It’s R99 a month, and FREE to existing DStv subscribers.
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