Cape Town - The movie Inxeba (The Wound) does not reveal any secrets, the filmmakers have said.
This follows the release of the official trailer of the movie earlier this month, which was slated for revealing what is normally a secretive rite of passage.
In a statement on Monday, the filmmakers slammed the violent threats the cast had received since the release of the official trailer.
Inxeba co-producer Batana Vundla said the role of traditional circumcision had been strengthened by the movie, rather than diminished.
"There are a number of genuinely concerned Xhosa South Africans who are perturbed at the thought that the secret tradition of Ulwaluko has been cast open for the whole world to see. Rest assured, that has not happened. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. How some people have come to this conclusion from watching a trailer speaks volumes about the levels ignorance at play here.
"If anything, through the constructive dialogue brought about by the film, initiation as a traditional practice and its in role in society has been strengthened by Inxeba. I want to stress that no secrets were revealed," he said.
The filmmakers have even come under fire from a Xhosa king, who is hoping to stop the film from being released. King Zwelonke Sigcawu’s subjects were complaining about the movie and say it exposes custom, his lawyer told News24.
Urucu Media producer Cait Pansegrouw has raised concerns that the criticism of the film was a result of hatred motivated by homophobia.
"We view these inexcusable threats in a serious light, and we will be taking appropriate action against any individual who threatens violence or commits homophobic hate crimes," she said.
"Inxeba has attracted much interest from the South African public, many of whom are eagerly anticipating its local release. From the feedback we receive daily on the film’s Facebook page, it is clear that the people attempting to shut the film down are speaking on behalf of a minority, and do not represent the ‘entire Xhosa nation’ as they claim.
“Inxeba was filmed in isiXhosa and is a proudly South African film that has drawn much praise from audiences around the world,” she adds.
"It is a story that focusses on the complex relationship between traditional patriarchy and LGBTQ identity, issues which we believe are essential to speak about in contemporary South Africa. While we respect the decision of anyone who chooses not to watch Inxeba, we are fiercely committed to protecting the rights of South Africans who choose to view it, and make up their own minds about the value and integrity of the film."