Inxeba (The Wound), Queerness and Xhosa Culture
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This article focuses on the controversy caused by the release of the film Inxeba (The Wound). Inxeba depicts a complex intersection of rites of passage, masculinities, queerness and the relationships between men in a homosocial environment within a Xhosa cultural setting. I argue that the subject matter of same-sex intimacy in the film challenges dominant constructions of Xhosa masculinities by going to the foundation of dominant Xhosa masculinities, namely the male initiation process. The film poses a challenge to Xhosa culture by boldly asking: what is the position of Xhosa culture on same-sex intimacies? The film depicts same-sex intimacy that takes place in one of the most sacred of Xhosa cultural spaces. In the article, the film is analysed as a conversation initiator, through which ideas about same-sex desire, Xhosa culture and ultimately African sexuality can be scrutinised and debated.