Inxeba claims win for freedom of expression

Inxeba (The Wound) has been unbanned.
Inxeba (The Wound) has been unbanned.
Image: SUPPLIED

The return of award-winning film Inxeba: The Wound to cinemas has been hailed as a victory for freedom of expression.

Creators of the movie were granted an order in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria yesterday to have it back at main cinemas after the Film and Publications Board Appeals Tribunal last month reclassified it to X18, rendering it in the same category as pornography.

The reclassification followed a complaint by the Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa) Gauteng and the Man and Boy Foundation.

The matter was postponed to March 28 for arguments while a interim order in favour of creators Urucu Media and Indigenous Film Distribution was put in place.

Creators of the movie, the distributors and actors described the order as victory.

"We're back in cinemas. Censorship was unlawful to begin with. Go and watch the film, lovers. Piracy has shown us flames [not in a good way]," twitted lead actor Nakhane Mahlakahlaka (formerly Toure).

Creators of the movie argued that it was difficult to understand why the movie was reclassified among other things lacking artistic value when it has won 20 awards of excellence internationally and within SA.

Producer Cait Pansegrouw said: "I am hopeful that the capitulation of the tribunal, Contralesa Gauteng and the Man and Boy Foundation to remove the X rating will assist in ensuring that the violent acts performed in opposition to the film are brought to an end, and that members of the public who wish to exercise their right to engage with Inxeba are no longer prohibited from doing so."

Following the banning of the movie, its full version was posted on YouTube while street hawkers in the Johannesburg CBD sold pirated copies for R10 each.

Indigenous Film Distribution's Helen Kuun urged cinema goers to stand against piracy by watching the movie when it returns to cinemas on Friday.

"Now that we have secured legal means by way of a court order to make the film available to all those who want to see it publicly, we urge fans to go out there and show their support by seeing it in cinemas."

Speaking on behalf of Ster-Kinekor Ogilvy PR's Lebo Moyana said Ster-Kinekor has noted the court outcome.

"As an exhibitor, Ster-Kinekor is reviewing its planned scheduling with a view to how it may be able to accommodate any potential screening of the film. Given existing operational planning requirements, no decision has yet been made in this regard."

Members of the Man and Boy Foundation wearing T-shirts with a red cross across a logo of Inxeba protested outside court. The foundation's Nkululeko Nxesi, who has roped in the services of Advocate Dali Mpofu to their legal team, maintained that this was not the end for them.

"The war is not over. Today was one battle of many that we have waged against the movie. We hear that they are claiming victory, it is not a victory per se because this is a temporary relief... On the 28th of March we will be discussing the substance of the case which we are certain that we have a strong case we are going to win.

"We respect the court pronouncement. We are not planning anything," Nxesi said.

The X-rated ban on the film ‘Inxeba (The Wound)’ has temporarily been lifted after an agreement was reached at North Gauteng high court in Pretoria on March 6 2018.

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