Magazine article New Internationalist

The Wound (Inxeba)

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Wound (Inxeba)

Article excerpt

The Wound (Inxeba) (88 minutes)

directed and co-written by John Trengove

In the mountains, stripped to red-striped tribal blankets, their bodies painted a dull white, one by one the teenage boys part their legs for the elder to slice away their foreskins. It's the Xhosa coming-of-age ritual, and no-one screams or cries - they now have to be men. Each has a mentor who has been through it, shares their small round hut during two weeks of starvation, and tends the wound with traditional herbs.

Xolani, a warehouse worker, is a mentor who returns every year. He's reserved, gentle, sympathetic, and, though he can't admit it publicly, gay. He's there because he's in love with Vija, a boyhood friend, who is married, also in the closet, and as distractingly macho and loud as Xolani is quiet. …

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