Gender Commission says SA a society in transition needs cultural sensitivity

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JOHANNESBURG, February 14 – The Commission on Gender Equality (CGE) said on Wednesday that South Africa was a society in transition and cultural issues needed to be discussed with sensitivity.

“Its important for South Africans to acknowledge that we are a society in transition and it must be done with sensitivity,” Mbuyiselo Botha from the CGE said during an ndaba on the Inxeba (The Wound) film.

Botha said that culture was sacracent and certain matters needed to be viewed on whether they were hurtful or not.

“These are issues that we must all dialogue, but it is not easy. The African culture can’t be humiliated and disrespected. We wish the producers could’ve engaged the CRL ( the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities) to get their views.”

He said South Africans should not “shut each other up” if they did not agree.

“That is when dialogue should be opened.”

Inxeba is a film about the traditional Xhosa rite of passage, or initiation, but has provoked outrage over the gay aspect to the film.

The Film and Publication Board (FPB) Appeal Tribunal on Wednesday said that they had overturned the classification rating of 16 LS given to the film and instead gave it a rating of X18 with the classifiable elements of Sex, Language, Nudity, Violence and Prejudice.

“A rating of X18 means that the material can only be distributed from designated adult premises. This means the film cannot be screened in cinemas or any other platform that is not a designated adult premise as defined by the Film and Publications Act no 96 of 1996 as amended,” FPB said in a statement.

FPB said the Chairperson of the Appeals Tribunal, in consultation with other tribunal members, agreed to hear the appeal based on applications lodged by CONTRALESA Gauteng and The Men and Boy Foundation. The complaints were largely based on the perceived cultural insensitivity and distortion of the Xhosa Circumcision tradition (Ulwaluko), and strong language in the film.

During an indaba on the film, the Zulu Prince Thulani Zulu said the Zulu nation was wounded by the film and that they wanted to engage with the producers to have it taken off screens.

“The Zulu’s did have this custom and it was stopped by King Shaka.”

He said Uselwa was their custom that was done by the Zulu nation.

“There are things that you don’t talk about. It’s secretive in nature or it loses its value.”

“The success and efficiency is because it’s done behind close doors.”

Keitumetsi Mahlangu, representing the religious community, said the film was derogatory and should not be seen by children.

“I was offended by the mentioning of Christ, you don’t just say anything about Christ.”

– African News Agency (ANA)