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An African King Wants To Stop The Distribution of a Gay Film, And Not For The Reason You're Guessing

Credit: Urucu Media

The King of the amaXhosa people is trying to stop the distribution of gay film Inxeba or The Wound. And funny enough, the reason isn’t because of its gay content.

Zwelonke Sigcawu is the King of the amaXhosa people, an ethnic group found mostly in South Africa. The king and his people are worried because the recently released film The Wound is sharing too much of his people’s culture and customs.

As stated in our earlier post:

“The film follows factory worker Xolani (played by Touré), who has to guide young Kwanda through an age-old rite of passage into manhood. While doing this, Kwanda goes through the trial of discovering and understanding himself while also understanding Xolani’s sexuality and relationship with another tribe caretaker.”

Because this film focuses on the initiation process for young men into adulthood, several amaXhosa citizens have reached out to their leaders, and ultimately to the King, to ask for help keeping their secrets.

This is a very private practice for the amaXhosa people (even many amaXhosa women are unaware of how the male rituals go) and several are upset that it is being shared without their knowledge or consent.

Credit: Urucu Media

Matthew Mpahlwa, the king’s lawyer, told News24 that:

“His subjects are complaining. He is the custodian of custom and what is being dealt [with] in the film is custom. It is on those grounds that he would ... be an interested party,” Mpahlwa said.
“There’s a lot of panic among the amaXhosa people who have undertaken the rituals, some of the men mostly, and they called on the kingdom of the amaXhosa to intervene.”

That said, the king and his people have not yet seen the film, and it’s fair to say most didn’t even know of the film’s existence until trailers were released.

“He has been seeing [the] trailers and people are just shocked.”

"There is an extent [to] which freedom of expression can go...  there are limits [to] which customs... can be exposed."

The film has already released at the Durban Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and the Film Forum in NYC, but King Sigcawu still wants to talk “amicably” with the film’s producers before going to court and filing a complaint with the Film and Publications Board (FPB) about the film’s distribution.

We’ll keep you updated as the story unfolds. In the meantime, you can watch the trailer for the film down below, and see for yourselves what everyone is so angry about.