Producers of the film Inxeba (The Wound) have laid a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission.
Cait Pansegrouw, an Urucu Media Producer, said that she laid the complaint following the escalation of threats that have been made towards the cast and crew of the movie by disgruntled members of the public.
“We as the film team and cast have been receiving death threats for the last year. The last straw for me was when members of the public were being threatened or physically attacked. We’ve had people tweeting that they are being threatened because of their support of the movie, and we can’t accept this,” Pansegrouw said.
“We’re living in 2018 and people are talking about banning art. We have said multiple times that the film isn’t for everyone and I really appreciate people’s passion towards the film,” she said.
The film has been temporarily suspended at a number of cinemas following threats to staff members.
“We are not upset with Nu Metro or Ster Kinekor at all and we don’t blame them either. It is absolutely up to them to decide on when to suspend the screenings, as their staff members have been threatened by people who have said that they will be followed home and killed if the cinemas show the film,” she said.
Last week, Walmer Park in Port Elizabeth suspended the screening of the film at its cinema. Canal Walk and the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town also suspended their screening, following threats of protest action against the cinema.
Many have taken to social media to express their disdain towards the film, citing reasons such “revealing sacred Xhosa initiation rites” and “white people making money off black culture”.
In support of the film however, many are calling for the conversation to deepen in order to realise that initiation deaths occur during the initiation processes.
Over the weekend, popular musician Loyiso Bala took to Twitter to express his intense disdain towards the film, saying that the film disrespected “the wishes and traditions of the Xhosa culture”.
Some Twitter users were quick to agree with him while others accused Bala of being insensitive towards the message behind the film.
This morning, Bala released an apology.
The human rights commission confirmed it had received the complaint and called on those who are against the film to “exercise their right to protest within the confines of the law, and to engage more constructively about the concerns to ensure that while the protests demonstrate an objection, the act of protests remains lawful and in accordance with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
“The complaint is being assessed by the Western Cape provincial office to see if there is prima facie evidence of human rights violations,” Gail Smith, commission spokesperson said.
The Film and Publications Board has also received numerous complaints regarding the screening of the film.
In January, the board released a statement saying that it was unable to halt the screening of the film because all classification processes for the film had been adhered to.
“In terms of our law, we are not allowed to reclassify any movies. People who have lodged a complaint with us, we have told them to go through the process with the Appeals Tribunal. Based on the merits of the case, the tribunal will then decide if we should retain the age restriction of 16 or change it. For now it is outside the hands of the Film and Publications Board,” Abongile Mashele, acting chief operations officer, told City Press.