I hadn’t expected to begin my response to a new local film with more consternation against our state bodies and their interference in South African cinema, but the recent opprobrium of the Film and Publication Board’s ferociously unjust censorship of Inxeba has angered me in excess of my expectations. I wasn’t very much bothered by those protesting the film’s screenings in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, though I was disappointed to find that theatre managers were caving in to intimidation — but the actions of the national classification and censorship authority were so cowardly, so unjust, and bore such harsh implications for the artists involved in the making of Inxeba as well as other South African artists that I cannot go without declaiming their repugnance here.
The Man and Boy Foundation (MBF) and the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (CONTRALESA) made an appeal to the Film and Publication Board (FPB) to change its rating of Inxeba with an age restriction of 16 to one of X18 — effectively a classification of the film as pornography. The FPB acquiesced and Inxeba, which was playing at multiplex and independent screening venues across the country, as well as reportedly having been bought by Multichoice to show on BoxOffice, Showmax, and M-Net, is now only allowed to be distributed by licenced pornography merchants and screened at designated “adult” venues. The only explanation that has been offered by the FPB so far comes along with its sudden announcement on its Twitter account, and it’s as repulsively evasive as the method of communication was brusque: