African cultures and traditional beliefs are for African people and only African people that is. No one can and should ever take that away from black people. More in particular amaXhosa, this is their story. Making reference in particular with the movie called Inxeba, the ‘wound’. This movie was directed by a white man called John Trengove. His identity is important because he is the one who put this film together, he is the directed of this film. As a white man, speaking and creating work on behalf of black men, is not okay and can never ever be acceptable.
I have seen the trailers of this film and it is a film that speaks about the Xhosa initiation which speaks about isiko loLwaluko. This traditional cultural practice is a practice that Xhosa boys go through to become men, or rather be recognised as men in the Xhosa society. The film speaks about all the sacred practices that are done in kweli siko loLwaluko. This is absolutely wrong, for so long black bodies have everything taken away from them, with white people have been doing; the constant taking and then capitalising from taking what is not there’s. John Trengove cannot and should not have directed this film, and a black queer Xhosa man should have written and directed this film it is their story to tell. Black history has been white washed, and straight washed because of colonialism, and because of white people being the face of these conversations. Utata uMpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu speaks about how the screening of this movie is problematic, however I agree with him to an extent.
I having gone through this ritual it is sacred and it only belongs to the Xhosa people, and people who have gone to the mountain, and the Xhosa families, no one else. Trengove is going to make money through this film, yet again a white person taking something from the black society. ‘Africa a society known for nothing good, but their interesting rituals”. This film later discusses homosexuality in the black culture, in particular kweli’siko loLwaluko. This for me becomes interesting and, it is of much importance that it is indeed discussed by the Xhosa community. Sexualities are very important and it is very much important to speak about homosexuality, and other queer sexualities in this ritual, for it is very heternormative. Indeed hyper masculinity does exist in this space, and it is oppressive for other bodies, especially the people who do not subscribe to this binary. I did not when I participated in this ritual. I too felt excluded, as a trans womxn. However, my main point is that this conversation should have been led by a black Xhosa man who identified to be part of the queer community.
This narrative is about “Traditon and sexuality” says Bathanda Mvundla. This is a conversation that is needed to be had, within the Xhosa community about how masculinity is defined within the black community and more in particular within the Xhosa culture. Bathanda claims to not have gone to the mountain. Therefore, personally he does not deserve to speak on behalf of queer black Xhosa bodies who have, indeed not all our lived realities are going to be the same, however how does one who has never been in that context begin to speak on behalf of people who have lived that reality, surely the narrative will be fragmented by nature. This cannot be acceptable. Thando and malusi have allegedly written the script for this film. In the interview above he speaks about consulting a cultural leader, because they had to “check their privilege”. As people who know nothing about this particular Xhosa experience. This is respectable and appropriate, however the main rules one is told in that space is for them not to speak about what is done in that space, so the cultural leader who gave them this information is definitely not an authentic cultural leader, because surely he would have told them all the processes of the film. With this story being the face of John and Bathanda people who do not know a lot about it, this important story losses its legitimacy. This is my main argument. This movie would have been more impactful and powerful if the body who went through these experiences narrated it and was the absolute face of it.
The main point of this film it is to educate people about the Xhosa culture, and more in particular Xhosa people who participate tradition. The point of this film to change the narrative and inform misinformed ideas about black masculinity and sexuality. How can this begin to happen if Xhosa men plan to boycott it and get it banned.
This film is so important for the Xhosa community. It speaks about the realities of sexuality and that sexuality is not what we have always thought it is. Sexuality is more complex than what has been presented to us by this heteronormative queerphobic colonial history. African cultures have always had fluid genders and sexualitites. Trans bodies were kings and queens, seen as Gods. Sexuality was seen to be fluid, heteronormativity was not a norm, but something that also existed like queer identities. There needs to be a conversation of this black masculinity that breeds in that space, problematising its fragility and the violent nature which it asserts its patriarchy amongst other black masculine bodies.
The epitome of blackness is not, and has never been that black cis-het body. It is all who are black. Singama Xhosa we need to know this, and begin to have conversations about the authenticity of gender, and it existing in black spaces, nakuthi maXhosa.