“The movie made everything public—even the very sensitive and secret things.”
Premiering at Sundance, John Trengove’s directorial debut, The Wound (Inxeba), is a brutal yet beautiful study in identity: Kwanda, a young gay South African, goes out into the wilderness to undergo Ulwaluko, a painful circumcision ritual and his rite of passage into the Xhosa tribe. But his desire to claim his manhood comes in conflict with the reality of his sexuality.
The film, which opened in the U.S. last week, has received wide critical acclaim—and comparisons to Moonlight. Variety called it “sensitively nuanced” and “rich in… small, observational details” (It’s also earned a respectable 86% on Rotten Tomatoes.)
In South Africa, though, The Wound has faced protests from the Xhosa community, which claims it reveals too much about Ulwaluko.
“The movie made everything public—even the very sensitive and secret things,” Xhosa king Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu told The Times. “It is insulting to the tradition because it stripped the tradition of its secrecy and sacredness. This will provoke the wrath of ancestors. Attacking and insulting this custom is an attack to our ancestors.”
Sigcawu and members of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa, or Contralesa, are calling for The Wound to be banned and have lodged complaints with the country’s Film and Publication Board. King Sigcawu wants to talk to em>The Wound’s producers “amicably” before approaching the courts.
“His subjects are complaining. He is the custodian of custom and what is being dealt [with] in the film is custom,” his attorney, Matthew Mpahlwa told News24. “There’s a lot of panic among the amaXhosa people who have undertaken the rituals, some of the men mostly, and they called on the kingdom of the amaXhosa to intervene.”
Sigcawu has not, however, seen The Wound yet. “He’s seen [the] trailers and people are just shocked,” said Mpahlwa. “There is an extent [to] which freedom of expression can go.”
South Africans have also blasted The Wound on twitter.
Read more at: NewNowNext.
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