The South African film 'Inxeba' tells the story of Xolani, who is a lonely factory worker, that joins the men of his community in the mountains of the Eastern Cape to initiate a group of teenage boys into manhood. When a defiant initiate from the city discovers his best kept secret, Xolani's entire existence begins to unravel.
Although the film won several international awards it has also been met with harsh criticism from some in South Africa and more especially the Xhosa community who feel it crosses traditional boundaries.
Lead actor, Nakhane describes Xolani as a closeted factory worker who is also a caregiver in the mountains where the boys go for initiation, he is a man of love.
Director of Inxeba, John Trengove says the film follows Xolani, into a secretive world of the initiation, while and discover a secret relationship hidden in this world.
Xolani has a childhood best friend who is also a caregiver. They meet once every six months and they pick up quite an intense and complicated love affair. The film tracks this love affair and things become complicated when the initiate picks up what is going on.— John Trengove, Director
Trengove says the film is about capturing some form of life and truth on camera. Any decent director will tell you casting everything, casting is ninety percent of the process, explains Trengove.
He goes on to say from the onset he and his crew knew they were working on something that would be controversial. Trengove adds that many of the cast did not have an acting background.
To prepare for his audition, Nakhane says he visited taverns to watch how he believed his character would behave.
I was going into these spaces to people watch. So that when I went to the audition, I wouldn't be Nakhane but embody Xolani.— Nakhane, Musician, novelist and actor
That ended up being, how does Xolani, speak, sit, smoke, if he does smoke, what does he smoke, how does he hold his cigarette or what's the register of his voice. I spent a lot of time learning how to transform into that character.— Nakhane, Musician, novelist and actor
Watch the Inxeba trailer here:
For the full interview listen to the audio clip: