Being a proud gay person still seen as middle-class privilege - Inxeba director

21 March 2018 - 11:00 By Kyle Zeeman
Inxeba (The Wound) explores themes of sexuality and tradition.
Inxeba (The Wound) explores themes of sexuality and tradition.
Image: Via Gear Down Youtube

The director of the controversial local film Inxeba (The Wound), John Trengove, says he is determined to shake off the belief that being gay and proud is something reserved for middle-class people with nothing else to worry about.

The film, which tells the story of a gay factory worker who supervises a traditional Xhosa initiation ceremony, has caused sharp debate in South Africa. Speaking to the British Film Institute, John said "race and tradition has completely overwhelmed the conversation locally" but that it still had a powerful message around the stereotypes of being gay.

"To be an out and proud gay person is still regarded as a middle-class privilege in our society – that this is something that you get to do when all your other needs are taken care of and you’re living in a protected little enclave. But as soon as you move into the vast majority of the rest of the country, particularly the rural areas and the more impoverished areas of South Africa, this is just not something that exists – this idea that you can be out and proud and fight for your rights at all costs."

He said that there were people outside the middle class that were proud, and he wanted to portray that.

After more drama than an episode of Days, Inxeba returned to local cinemas earlier this month after the High Court in Pretoria allowed it to be shown while it decided on the correct rating for the film.

Inxeba had earlier been been given the same rating as porn after the Film and Publication Board's Appeals Tribunal overturned its initial 16LS rating.

John told TshisaLIVE the producers would continue to fight for that rating to be further reduced to the original 16LS rating.

“It was something that we would not have normally accepted but this is an interim way for people to watch the film, so we consider it a victory.”