Inxeba (The Wound), a controversial South African film set in the mountains of the Eastern Cape is breaking new ground. The film was recently shortlisted for the Oscars which will be held in March 2018 but this is not all the film has achieved. John Trengrove, the film director, won the Best Director Award while Nakhana Toure won the Best Actor Award for his role in Inxeba at the 38th Durban International Film Festival in July. The film has also been awarded at the Spanish Valencia International Film Festival, the Taipei Film Festival, the Lovers Film Festival and the Sarasota Film Festival. It has also been screened at the Sundance Film Festival, one of the toughest festivals to get into. This film is an international hit with CNN comparing it to the American breakaway hit, Moonlight. However, Inxeba has caused an outrage in South Africa for its plot which seeks to provoke real discussions around culture and masculinity.
Inxeba’s plot is built around the traditional isiXhosa rite of ulwaluko – a Xhosa male initiation ceremony. In itself, this is controversial as some AmaXhosa would rather not have their secret rites screened for the whole world to see. In the words of AmaXhosa King, Zwelonke Sigcawu, “There is an extent (to) which freedom of expression can go…there are limits (to) which customs…can be exposed.”
The film adds a homosexual relationship to the already controversial storyline. Nakhana Toure, the star of the film says, “People were mad that a specific passage was being mentioned but underneath it was the whole idea that the queerness made it even more perverse. It exacerbated how disgusting it was to them in their eyes.”