Cape Town - The release of the contentious movie Inxeba: The Wound has been cancelled for “security reasons” by Nu Metro Cinemas at Canal Walk in Cape Town and Walmer Park in Port Elizabeth.
The announcement came amid renewed calls for a boycott of the award-winning movie, which was released nationwide on Friday.
The movie, played entirely in isiXhosa, depicts a story of unrequited love between two initiates in an initiation school setting.
“Nu Metro Cinemas wish to express our disappointment that, 21 years after the constitution of South Africa was ratified, threats of violence and intimidation are obstructing the legally protected rights of storytellers to tell their stories and of audiences to enjoy such stories,” a Nu Metro spokesperson said. “It is in the interests of the safety of our staff and customers that, after receiving such threats, as well as the incitement of violence that has surfaced on social media, we have reluctantly elected to withdraw the film from our screens, the film-makers having been effectively prevented from exercising the rights enshrined in our nation’s constitution.”
The LGBTQ community has criticised “conservative men” who are against the movie as hyper-masculine. #Inxeba trended on social media ahead of this weekend’s release.
Nandy Nothling, spokesperson for Gays & Lesbian Network, said she had been following the developments around the film, including the calls for a boycott.
“The movie doesn’t touch on details of the culture more than it does on sexuality,” she said.
Nothling added some of the messages on social media bordered on homophobia and hate speech.
“We don’t see why the movie should be boycotted because the fact of the matter is there are (Xhosa) gay men,” she said.
Chisa Katangama, chairperson of the Langa Embo Forum initiation school, said there had been discussions - especially among caregivers in initiation schools - of boycotting the film.
He said he was unable to issue a statement on behalf of the forum as he had not seen the film. Personally, he was “not in the mood for this movie. I’ve read an article about it. It’s too much for me; I’m not really interested,” he said.
A message, purporting to come from a Xhosa man opposed to the film, circulated on social media, calling on Xhosa men to close ranks around their rite of passage practice and to boycott the film.
Cait Pansegrouw, producer of the movie, said she had seen calls for a boycott on social media.
“It’s unfortunate that there are people calling for a boycott. From what I have seen, it’s predominantly coming from people who have not seen the movie.”
Pansegrouw said people who had not seen the film should not form opinions. She said the writers, producers and members of the cast, notably lead actor Nakanye Toure, had been subjected to death threats since last January.
The Film and Publication Board (FPB) said it had received complaints from several “organisations and parties”.
The film is being screened at Ster Kinekor cinemas.