Nguni council weighs in on Inxeba

Chief Nosizwe Skaap has advised young people to ask questions and stop selling their culture.

The outrage over the controversial movie, Inxeba (The wound) is refusing to die down, with the provincial Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa), looking at ways to deal with what they have called an embarrassment to the Xhosa people.

On Saturday February 17, the provincial leadership of Contralesa met at Philani Hall, in Town Two, Khayelitsha, where they unanimously called for the movie to be removed from cinemas across the nation.

Nguni Council chairperson, Lungelo Nokwaza, said the movie inaccurately depicts Xhosa culture and rituals as embarrassing and disgusting.

He said the movie dragged black people and their pride through the mud.

The Film Publication Board (FPB) appeal board recently reclassified Inxeba to X18 for its elements of sex, language, nudity, violence and prejudice.

The X18 classification is one categorisation away from a total ban under the FPB classification schedule. The reclassification means this film can only be screened in “designated adult premises”.

“This is about our children which are the future. People need to remember that culture is identity and that identity is our children’s tomorrow. So when they wrongly do things to our culture, we ought to stand up and fight. We are happy enough that people need to know but they should do that in the right way. We are aware that the movie has been taken off from certain places, but we say abolish it. The film and publications board should not grade it at all,” he told Vukani.

Mr Nokwaza said the resolution of the meeting would be sent to the national executive of the organisation.

He said there is an incorrect perception that the chiefs were homophobic because they were against Inxeba but this was not true.

He said the chiefs were the custodians of culture and leaders of all so they could not discriminate. He said they would not fold their arms when people wrongfully depicted their traditional culture.

“Our young people have nothing to do. For them to get money they have opted to selling our culture to foreigners in a wrong way. We have heard the wrong criticism from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgenders, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) organisations and we say they are wrong. We are not talking homophobia here, we are talking about our sacred culture. This culture is not secret but sacred. That should stick in their heads. We will defend and preserve our cultures whether it is ulwaluko and any other culture,” he said.

Chief Nosizwe Skaap said as much as they respect the right to free speech, when something is wrong it should be handled as such.

“This is a rite to manhood for our young people not a story to sell. Young people should stop being sell-outs of culture. From what I hear those who wrote the movie haven’t even gone that route. If what I heard is true about the movie, it is scaring our children,” she said.

Ms Skaap advised artists to speak out, but also take time to ask questions to be accurate. She said traditions and cultures can be sensitive at times so they need to consult before saying something embarrassing.

Chief Daluxolo Mthotywa was angry at the way the message came across.

“But in depicting and telling of this story it is wrong. In fact, the way they told it. Probably they are right to write it, but it is just how they said it and put it. This has touched the nerves of many including the custodians of culture, the chiefs. That is why we decided to speak out against it,” he said.

Chief Mthotywa said there are still meetings to be held with the public and possibly marches or pickets against the movie.

The Right2Know Campaign national communicator, Busi Mtabane, said her organisation is greatly dismayed by the FPB’s act of homophobic censorship.

“We view this as censorship; censorship that silences the voice of the LGBTIQ community, and violates the constitutional right to freedom of expression. As the FPB has yet to publish reasons for this decision, R2K sees it as a dangerous and gross overreach of the FPB’s authority.The reclassification of Inxeba by the appeals board flies in the face of the spirit of the freedom of expression in a democratic state, which includes freedom to receive or impart information or ideas, especially for those ideas or expression which we differ with,” she said.

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