THE WOUND (INXEBA) – Multi Award Winning South African Greek Tragedy

INXEBA aka THE WOUND is a multi award winning South African movie from John Trengove. It is arguably one of the most controversial movies released from South Africa that not only questions tradition but also sexuality and current homosexual taboos. The awards and nominations for this movie are so long I have just placed a screen shot of the awards at the bottom of the article. THE WOUND is out today exclusively at Dendy Cinemas (NEWTOWN AND CANBERRA) and Cinema Nova, it is rated MA15+ and runs for 88mins.


The Wound Niza Jay Ncoyini, Nakhane Touré plus other Xhosa Tribe Members image
Niza Jay Ncoyini, Nakhane Touré plus other Xhosa Tribe Members




Eastern Cape, South Africa. A lonely factory worker, Xolani, takes time off his job to assist during an annual Xhosa circumcision initiation into manhood. In a remote mountain camp that is off limits to women, young men, painted in white ochre, recuperate as they learn the masculine codes of their culture. In this environment of machismo and aggression, Xolani cares for a defiant initiate from Johannesburg, Kwanda, who quickly learns Xolani’s best kept secret, that he is in love with another man.


The Wound Niza Jay Ncoyini and Nakhane Touré image
Niza Jay Ncoyini and Nakhane Touré



THE WOUND delves into deep culture in South Africa, not just in the ancient rituals of the Xhosa tribe but in the ingrained fibre of the nation.

The creators of INXEBA/ THE WOUND always knew the film would be controversial. A hidden gay romance set in the secretive world of a traditional initiation school for Xhosa boys, the film sparked outrage long before it was released.

The film’s weekend release on Feb. 2, 2017 in cinemas around South Africa led to protests and some cinemas pulling the film after staff members were threatened. The producers persevered, with no major incidents taking place, except for the public debate on masculinity, cultural appropriation and the lengths communities have to go to protect their traditions.


The Xhosa tribe has a coming of age tradition of male circumcision at a certain age. The boys are looked upon by the elders, I mean really looked upon, to me it felt like cattle, but they then have their penis hood sliced off and must wear traditional robes and stay in huts while being taken care of for eight days by carers. It is intimate and god-knows how painful it is for the boys but it is tradition and not something that we need to vocally judge, most of the boys want to participate in this rite of passage.

In reality INXEBA is a documentary of the tradition but paired with a second and darker fictional wound being represented. The hidden and terrifying fear of being discovered if you are a gay man. It isn’t in the realm of impossibility that you would be killed for loving someone of the same sex. At the very least excommunication from your tribe for being what is considered an abomination by most.

The introduction of Niza Jay Ncoyini as Kwanda is Trengove’s look at the clash between new and old. It is a sad Greek tragedy that shows an evolving culture not able to keep up with the advancements of the modern world and it’s evolving morals.


The Wound Niza Jay Ncoyini and Nakhane Touré image
Niza Jay Ncoyini and Nakhane Touré



  • Nakhane Touré as Xolani
  • Bongile Mantsai as Vija
  • Niza Jay Ncoyini as Kwanda

These three men were just marvellous in their respective roles. All three have received threats for their portrayal of gay men. It is a brave film from South Africa and brave roles for these men to play. Nakhane Touré is a well known singer in South Africa, he is actually gay and his music does represent his homosexuality. He is a Christian Black Man in Africa singing gay love songs in a pop/rock format – bravo to him!


The Wound Bongile Mantsai and Nakhane Touré image
Bongile Mantsai and Nakhane Touré



INXEBA aka THE WOUND is a truly perfect title for this movie. THE WOUND tells the story of a physical wound, a cultural wound, and a country’s wound. It questions tradition, homosexuality and circumcision. It is a brave movie of cultural clashes that deserves respect and all the awards that have, and will come, its way.



Inxeba aka The Wound Awards List image




 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.