South Africa: ‘Inxeba’ filmmakers fight back against protests and death threats

The producers of the controversial Inxeba (The Wound) have defended the film and the right to free expression amid attempts to block the film’s release in South Africa.

Protest action by cultural activists has seen several cinemas forced to cancel screenings of Inxeba, which has been shown across the continent and around the world to widespread critical acclaim. 

Mambaonline is aware of cinemas in East London, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Johannesburg that have postponed screenings or canceled the exhibition of the film entirely following protests and threats to damage property and attack staff members.

The Man and Boy Foundation (MBF), which promotes “safe traditional initiation practice”, is one of the  organisations behind the alarming intimidation and attack on freedoms of speech and expression. The group claims that the film’s depiction of sacred traditional initiation practices is an assault on Xhosa culture.

In an interview on ANN7 last night, MBF executive director Nkululeko Nxesi said that, “99% of the South Africa population are against this movie”. He subsequently contradicted himself by stating that the filmmakers have set out to divide “the black population” and “get black people to fight amongst themselves”.

Indigenous Film Distribution, the company releasing the film in South Africa, has pointed out that this statement is blatantly untrue. “Ahead of its opening weekend, pre-screenings were held around the country, and 85% of people who attended gave it the thumbs up,” said managing director Helen Kuun in a statement. “It was also the number one film at seven of the venues where it screened on Friday.” 

She refuted Nxesi’s claim that the filmmakers had only engaged with gay communities on this film to the exclusion of other stakeholders.

Director John Trengrove said “It’s a complete fallacy to say that the film exposes anything that is not already known. I must state categorically that we did a tremendous amount of research, working with Xhosa men who have been through initiation, in writing and developing this film.”

“Nobody is forced to see Inxeba. But South Africans have every right to watch and engage with it.” added producer Elias Ribeiro. “Protesters at several cinemas warned staff that they would follow them home and kill them if the screening of the film went ahead. This is not acceptable in a democratic society.” Read more via Mamba Online