On Friday, February 2nd, a group of protestors occupied Nu Metro cinemas in Walmer Park to encourage a boycott of Inxeba(The Wound), the screenings were suspended thereafter.
The multiple SAFTAs awarding film has received a lot of backlash on social media from people, predominantly men, who feel that it is a disrespectful depiction of the isiXhosa culture’s initiation schools. The movie, which is entirely in isiXhosa, tells the story of an unrequited love affair between two initiates. However, though 85% of viewers who watched pre-screenings approved of the movie, homosexuality is frowned upon in many societies, especially when it comes to traditional cultural practices. As a result of the national screenings, Directors and Producers of the film received death threats which they have since filed complaints with the South African Human Rights Commission and the Commission for Gender Equality.
People took to Twitter to express their views against the protests and these 5 tweets were amongst the top responses:
16 initiates died last year. Dololo protest action from Contralesa and friends. A movie about the toxicity faced by Queer men in traditional spaces, which opens up dialogue, is made and all of a sudden they are alive. Contralesa and that Women’s department are a joke. #Inxeba
— Sivuyile Mtshemla (@Slayvuyile) February 2, 2018
This is about the principle. We live in a democracy. Just because something offends your sensibilities, it doesn’t mean it should be banned. We start with Inxeba then what next? If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. You don’t get to decide that for everyone else. Qha.
— Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) February 5, 2018
I am Xhosa man who is proud of his culture, & have noted the outrage against #Inxeba. I wish the same outrage by my fellow Xhosa brothers gainst:
1. Women Abuse
2. Poor matric results in EC
3. Deaths of initiates
4. Landlessnes and poverty
5. Underdevelopment in the EC
— Dr.Ndiviwe Mphothulo (@Nmphothulo) February 3, 2018
My view on #Inxeba outrage: if you are more pressed with a storyline that seeks not to break the seal of secrecy around initiation but centre the voices of silenced gay community in hyper masculine spaces – then your issues lies not with the movie itself but the gay community.
— Nande N (@nandnz) February 2, 2018
As a gay Xhosa man, who did go through the initiation process. I’ve always felt that there’s a lot of homophobia in our culture – it’s seen a normal thing.
#Inxeba is a story that deserved to be told.
— Bantsundu Ncapha (@bantsunduncapha) February 4, 2018
I have never seen Xhosa men (led by chiefs) organize a protest to fight against domestic violence but yet they make the time to fight against a mere movie. Talk about protecting amour propre . #INXEBA
— impératrice zinhle (@HazelbirdZinhle) February 2, 2018
Celebrities and other media personalities have also taken to Twitter to express their views, one which made headlines, in particular, was Loyisa Gola, who hasn’t actually seen the movie and said he doubts he will:
The release of ‘Inxeba’ totally ridicules and disrespects the wishes and traditions of the Xhosa culture. If we, as a country, cannot protect our own cultural beliefs and differences, no one else will do it for us.
— Loyiso Bala (@loyisomusic) February 3, 2018
Director John Trengove said, “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.”