Last summer, we talked to you about how the Gay, South African film Inxeba was publicizing an African tribe’s secret practices without their permission.
Now, we have an update about that film.
Inxeba, or The Wound, follows a factory worker named Xolani who helps train the young men of his tribe (the amaXhosa) for their coming-of-age ritual. On top of that, the story depicts Xolani’s gay relationship with another tribe member.
While many Westerners were excited for the film, to the point that it almost received an Oscar nomination, locals and actual members of the amaXhosa tribe were not so happy.
The film was finally released in South Africa a few weeks ago and was instantly caught in controversy. Tribe members marched in movie theaters, cast members received death threats, and movie theater staff were threatened in person.
As such, the film was seriously derailed in its progress. Now, it’s been censored as pornography. The problem is, there’s no explicit sex or close-ups of genitals in the entire film.
The film has been banned in South Africa after a review board re-classified it as X18 on February 14. The Film and Publication Board decided there was no “artistic value” in the film and warned certain scenes could create “increased tensions in society.”
Many are suspecting there’s more at play in this ruling. As stated, many Xhosa people have expressed anger at the film showing intimate secrets about the tribe’s rite of passage into manhood. That said, others say nothing has been shared that wasn’t already known.
In addition, many are pointing fingers at the film’s white director, but then others point at the Black co-writer and the entire Xhosa cast.
What’s most likely the cause of all this unrest is the underlying homophobia coming from tribe members who idolize toxic masculinity.
Despite this censorship, Inxeba’s creators want to keep sharing the story. They are challenging the censorship in court since the film doesn’t contain explicit sex.
We’ll see how that progresses.
h/t: The Economist