Scene from Inxeba (The Wound)

Entertainment In The News South Africa

Religious rights body censures local movie Inxeba hours before first screening in SA

JOHANNESBURG, February 2 – The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural‚ Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) on Friday said it had agreed with the National Film and Video Foundation to add a disclaimer to the local movie, which has come under fire for its portrayal of Xhosa customs.

The controversial isiXhosa film which lifts the lid on secret cultural rites of passage opens in cinemas in South Africa on Friday.

In a statement, the CRL Rights Commission said it met with the Films and Publications Board as well as representatives of the National Film and Video Foundation on Thursday, where an agreement was reached to right the wrongs.

“The purpose of the meeting was to address concerns and complaints raised by a number of organisations about some sections in the movie,” said the CRL Commission.

The rights body said the National Film and Video Foundation “will ensure that the producers put a disclaimer which clearly indicates that the portrayal of the initiation practice in the film is not true representation”.

In addition “this disclaimer will also address the reference to Jesus and Shaka Zulu potentially being gay which is blasphemous and that it infringes on the dignity of both amaZulu and Christian Communities.”

The rights body said it was also agreed that the National Film and Video Foundation will issue an apology for funding a movie that affects the dignity of the cultural, religious and linguistic communities.

The CRL Commission said in future subtitles will be monitored to ensure that they convey a true interpretation of the words used and that the Film and Publications Board will fast-track any appeals lodged.

Inxeba is a film centred around the traditional ritual of ukwaluka, a Xhosa rite of passage to manhood that includes circumcision. It also depicts issues around sexual identity in the form of a gay love story. The trailer for the movie has caused an uproar.

Although the film was scheduled to begin showing on Friday some cinemas said they were postponing opening night for fear of reprisals from irate community members. At least two cinemas in the Eastern Cape have decided not to show the movie after threats from groups opposed to the movie be shown to the public.

Clearly Inxeba – the wound – has opened wounds and divided opinions about the sanctity of religion and cultural practices.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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