‘Inxeba is not going to go away’ – The Wound producers take battle to HRC

05 February 2018 - 09:01 By Kyle Zeeman
A scene from 'The Wound', directed by John Trengrove.
A scene from 'The Wound', directed by John Trengrove.
Image: Supplied

Producers of controversial local film Inxeba (The Wound) have responded to threats which led to several screenings of the movie being cancelled, by laying a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission and the Commission for Gender Equality.

The film, which tells the story of a gay factory worker who travels to the rural Eastern Cape to oversee the Xhosa initiation process only to have his secret discovered by one defiant initiate, once again had Mzansi talking when several cinemas showing the film had to postpone screenings due to threats of violence.

Speaking to TshisaLIVE, Nu Metro general manager Nitesh Matai said the company had reluctantly decided to postpone screenings of the film over protests.

"It is in the interests of the safety of our staff and customers that, after receiving such threats of violence and of damage to property, as well as the incitement of violence that has surfaced on social media, we have reluctantly elected to withdraw the film from our screens. We at Nu Metro Cinemas wish to express our disappointment that, 21 years after the Constitution of South Africa was ratified, threats of violence and intimidation are obstructing the legally-protected rights of storytellers to tell their stories, and of audiences to enjoy such stories."

Ster Kinekor also withdrew the film from some of their cinemas in the Eastern and Western Cape.

The Wound 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.”

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.”

Internationally acclaimed South African film ‘Inxeba (The Wound)’ premiered on January 30, 2018. We chat to actor Niza Jay Ncoyini as well as the filmmakers.

Meanwhile, Congress Of Traditional Leaders (Contralesa)'s Prince Abongile Ngozi continued to slam the film's depiction of the Xhosa initiation ceremony, and told EWN that the group had written to producers to try assist them in trying to tell their story accurately.

"We have written to these people countless times to come and engage so that we may find common ground on how we can best assist them in depicting our culture and telling this story."

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