The Camera as an Ethnographer in Inxeba


  • Ian Jackart University of British Columbia


After the release of the film Inxeba, a film by John Trengrove, both the public and its critics displayed backlash toward the film’s display of homosexual intimacy. Many reviews claimed Inxeba depicted pornography and as a result, was deemed unacceptable for public viewing. This backlash led to Inxeba receiving an R-rating in South Africa. This paper employs an interdisciplinary analysis to discuss Inxeba as a case study of media within the South African context. The primary fields included in this analysis include media anthropology, film study, gender studies, and African studies. The paper focuses on how the camera can be used to portray understandings of masculinity as hegemonic, instead of an exploitative, revealing, and misrepresentative colonial tool. Furthermore, this paper analyzes the backlash that Inxeba faced due to the colonial imports of homophobic norms, and how the film reframes masculinity and homosexuality as entangled within Xhosa culture.