Inxeba: The Wound gets a X18 viewer restriction.

South African media regulatory body, the Film and Publication Board (FPB), has changed the viewer rating of Inxeba: The Wound to X18 effectively preventing most mainstream cinemas from screening it. The movie which focuses on the Xhosa initiation rituals of a homosexual man, was initially rated 16LS but was changed this past week after several appeals were lodged with the FPB.

“A rating of X18 means that the material can only be distributed from designated adult premises. This means the film cannot be screened in cinemas or any other platform that is not a designated adult premise as defined by the Film and Publications Board,” read a press release from the FPB.

Inxeba: The Wound premiered in South African cinema’s last week and was immediately met with a public outcry and threats of protests which caused some cinemas cancelling their screenings.

Deputy Chairman of the Wits Xhosa Cultural Union of Students (XCUS) Kamvalethu Spelman, said FPB’s move was a good one. “FPB pulled a perfect stunt and those clowns who are involved in the movie saga must apologise to the nation,” he said.

Spelam added that XCUS were targeting other published material exposing the Xhosa coming of age tradition to be “taken off”.

“Even those books that were written by the co-writer (Malusi Bengu), of Inxeba. We are coming for him. We as the future, we will clean all those dirty things. We can’t allow people to sell our culture,” he said.

In August last year, some Wits students found themselves in a heated exchange about the movie outside the Great Hall [WATCH video here].

Second-year BSc Mathematics of Finance student, Wanga Sidelo, said the new restriction does not change anything, because people can still access the content. “It doesn’t change anything because I can still download it myself, and call my younger brothers to watch it. What we were fighting was it not to be shown at all because it exposes the secrets of our traditions,” said Sidelo.

Programme Director for the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Advocacy Programmes at Wits, Tish Lumos, said they strongly condemn FPB’s ruling. “It silences, it prejudices. It ultimately says that if you are a black queer person, your voice is irrelevant.”

Lumos added that there was a shortage of content in mainstream media that celebrates and has a positive representation of black queer people, content such as Inxeba: The Wound. “[It is] incredibly critical … and valuable” seeing that it is celebrated overseas said Lumos.