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‘Hell will break loose in PE, if they show that controversial movie, Inxeba’: warns Xhosa chief

By Afikile Lugunya - Feb 1, 2018
‘Hell will break loose in PE, if they show that controversial movie, Inxeba’: warns Xhosa chief

It may have been praised by international film critics, but the controversial cultural film, Inxeba - The Wound, is set for a shaky first screening in Port Elizabeth where traditionalists have also expressed their unhappiness about the film showing what happens in the bush where Xhosa men go through a sacred rite of passage to manhood.

The details about what happens there has long been a secret to outsiders as well as women, who can never know what happens there.

However, the Inxeba, directed by John Trengevo, which is set to play at South African Cinemas on Friday the 2nd of February, threatens to reveal the centuries-old practice.

Several Xhosa men, who spoke to RNEWS have voiced their concern and anger over the setting and the title of the movie.

Inxeba stars, Alice-born musician-turned-actor, Nakhane Touré in the lead role of Xolani, and Niza Jay Ncoyini, as Kwanda, who join the other teenagers of their community on a journey to the mountains to be initiated into manhood.

The film explores the two men's secret love affair.

This film also exposes some sacred initiation practices that take place at the initiation school that only men, who have gone to the mountain are supposed to keep a secret.

'Why must it be a secret'

Xhosa culture forbids women from asking about the initiation rites and everything else that happens in the mountains during that time - but curiosity has always been there and the film happens to showcase what most women have always wanted to know.

Some women have taken to social media to argue that men already know things about women such as childbirth and menstruation, so why must traditional circumcision continue to be kept a secret.

However, the answer always previously led to “those that are not part of the custom, must not concern themselves with it - Xhosa circumcision is sacred”.

In a Facebook post by actor, Jay, apparently Hemingways Mall Cinema, in East London, were hesitating to play the movie. He said that men should stop being ‘greedy’ as manhood does not only belong to them.

“So Hemingways Mall cinema is messing with our vibe. They don't want to screen The Wound in East London for some reason or another. But they're the only public cinema in the area How Sway? There are many Xhosa people in EL who want to watch the film with their friends and families,”he wrote.

“Koo Bhuti aba, naba xhasi benu, sanulockela kuthi, UbuXhosa, nobudoda, nobuntu aybobenu nodwa. Asizova ngani apha, kwaye asithanga nqa ngani. (To all brothers and your supporters, manhood does not only belong to you, so please stop what you are doing we are not amused.)

“Bukela ifilm uyeke uthetha nge nto ongayaziyo, okanye uhlale kowenu uxove umbhako ????. (Watch the film or bake bread and stay indoors) If you or someone you know wants to watch @thewound in and around East London please e-mail info@indigenousfilms.co.za.”

‘Hell will break loose’

Speaking to RNEWS, Chief Velile Mfunda, said he had been angered by the film and called on authorities to ban its screening as it portrays lies.

“This morning [Thursday], we visited various Metro Film broadcasters and gave them a warning that if they play the movie, hell will break loose,” he said.

“Women are not supposed to watch this film; what is broadcasted there are dirty lies.

“Circumcision is an old sacred tradition, which we want to see continue as Xhosa chiefs, we cannot allow this tradition to be destroyed so easily and so carelessly by lies that will be broadcasted in Cinemas.”

He added that he was very angry that the film looks set to still be screened at various cinemas across the country and has since called on all black people to join hands and boycott it so as to force the cinemas to shut it down.

‘We will make sure nobody sees the film in the Nelson Mandela Bay’

Members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in the Nelson Mandela Bay, Khanya Ngqisha and Tengwa Yamkela, have already organised a protest that they hope will see the closure of various cinemas in Port Elizabeth that intend to screen Inxeba.

“The whole production of the movie is a crime against the culture of the Xhosa nation and black people as a whole.

“We believe that those who have participated in the production of the movie have portrayed blasphemous behaviour towards the Xhosa culture,” Tengwa said.

“With that being said, we believe that people should refrain, abjure, cease, forsake, discontinue, drop and abstain from watching this movie - the movie must be condemned from being seen.”

Tengwa added said that they will meet at the Boardwalk’s Nu Metro and the Walmer cinema “to ensure that no one sees that movie in this region”.

“I can tell you now - We are going to defend our culture to the bitter end. If you are coming with please indicate on comments or inbox,” he added.

“I cannot even talk to my mother about what happens there. What kind of education that undermines and disrespects one’s culture.”

Meanwhile, speaking for the Imbumba yamaGqirha in Port Elizabeth - the local traditional healer’s association, Chairperson, Gogo Philasande Yoko, expressed her concerns about the film.

“This is degrading, shameful and it’s an embarrassment of our culture.

“I have been a traditional healer for more than 20 years and before boys go to initiation school, they come to me to gather their strength and to have a blessed journey,” she said.

“However, never - and I mean never, have I set foot in their sacred initiation place because I respect traditions and customs.

“For this film to be broadcasted, I think it’s stupid and a huge sell-out of our Xhosa culture and tradition.”