Johannesburg - Traditional leaders in the Eastern Cape have reacted with outrage to the news that the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) has chosen to submit controversial film Inxeba (The Wound) for an Oscar in the best foreign language film category.
Nkosi Mwelo Nonkonyana, the newly elected chair of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders, says chiefs will do everything in their power to stop “the offensive” film from receiving accolades.
“We are fundamentally opposed to this film. In fact, we think it should be interdicted in court. We don’t want it at all. We are disappointed that government can [allow it to be shown] without even consulting us,” he said.
Nonkonyana said the reason they opposed the film was because initiation was a sacred and sacrosanct rite of passage into manhood.
He said the ritual was supposed to be secret and restricted only to those who participate in it, and should not be publicised all over the world.
“The fact that initiation is now published for everybody to see through a film is problematic. Secondly, people film scandalous things and overdo it and turn it into a joke.
"You cannot make a joke about a ritual that people love. It is really very offensive,” he said.
Nonkonyana said he would write to government, the NFVF, and the Film and Publications Board to express their opposition as traditional leaders.
“We will even write to those who produced this film to tell them to stop this film and, of course, if they don’t listen to us, we are determined to go to court because I think it offends our cultural rights as Africans,” said Nonkonyana, who is an admitted advocate of the high court.
Nkosi Gcobani Tyali from the OR Tambo Initiation Monitoring Forum said there was nothing educational about the film.
“Government is embarrassing itself by selling our culture and rituals. Government is supposed to preserve all the different cultures and customs, and not sell them to the West,” he said.