Nakhane Touré, the star of Inxeba (The Wound), has reacted with defiance to the news that the film has effectively been banned in South Africa.
Touré, who’s received international acclaim for his role as a closeted Xhosa factory worker in the gay love story, has been subjected to death threats for starring in the movie.
In a Twitter post on Wednesday, the award-winning singer, author and actor said the latest development had left him “raw as a fresh wound”.
Touré revealed that when he heard news that the film had been re-rated x18 he sat shaking in his apartment, close to tears and remembering the stigma and hate he’s faced in the past as a gay man.
“I saw myself as a child, mocked for being effeminate. Afraid for my life as a teenager when I walked past straight men because I had no idea what they were capable of,” he wrote.
“They hated me. They hated us unless we made them laugh. Unless we did their hair and proved that they were good people. I grew up, I was still afraid, but I refused to hide. There was and is nothing wrong with me.”
Touré, who powerfully renamed his profile “X18 XHOSA QUEER”, admitted that he was deeply emotional about the issue.
“I’m allowed to be emotional. This my life. These are our lives. And I fucking refuse to live in shame for your patriarchy to keep on living. I’m an umXhosa and I don’t know what to do with what I love but doesn’t love me.”
He concluded: “So you’ll take us off your cinemas, you’ll rip our paintings / photographs off walls. But we will not go anywhere. We will still be here even if you think you’ve won.”
On Wednesday, the Film and Publication Board (FPB) Appeal Tribunal overturned Inxeba’s previous 16 LS rating and reclassified it as a hardcore adult film.
As a result, the acclaimed movie was pulled from all mainstream cinemas and may now only be shown in specially licensed adult premises.
“We are obviously disappointed in the outcome, given how the FBP has classified an important work of art that explores themes around masculinity, love and identity as an X-rated film,” responded producer Cait Pansegrouw in a statement.
“This is one of the most severe ratings a film can receive,” added Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution. “We have sought advice from legal representatives, who are studying the decision, and we will advise on our way forward imminently.”
Traditional leaders and cultural activists have claimed that Inxeba’s depiction of sacred and secret initiation ceremonies and the inclusion of homosexuality in this context are an insult and attack against the Xhosa culture.
Members of the cast and the production team have been subjected to threats, intimidation and assault. Cinemas were forced to postpone or cancel some screenings on the film’s release following protests and threats to property and the lives of staff.