by Zandile Makhubu
It’s Wednesday evening and the whole Inkanyiso crew is out and about attending the Out in Africa (OIA) Film Festival at NuMetro Cinema, Hyde Park Mall, Johannesburg.
The Out In Africa, South African Film Festival is an LGBTQI social event established in 1994.
Its inception was inspired by the South African Constitution tackling equality in our country on the subject of discrimination on the basis of sexual and gender discrimination.
As we all wait outside the cinema, greeting friends, colleagues and associates, it is amazing how far we have come as the LGBTQI community, supporting each other in all facets of our lives. The gathering is interesting as there are different talks centered on calls for debates, predicting what’s in store for the audience, etc.
After we are seated, we are greeted by an amazing woman, the speaker for the night the wonderful director of OIA, Nodi Murphy, who delivers a great start to the evening that promises to be full of surprises.
She tells us of the present LGBQTI organisations that have come out to support the Film Festival such as GALA, OC, JHB People’s Pride, Sisonke Gender Justice, Health For Men, Iranti.org, Gay Umbrella and our very own Inkanyiso Productions, just to mention a few.
What is special about this year’s OIA Film Festival opening night is that only South African films are being showcased. This was a first and it was refreshing to see the raw talent and the not so fortunate in the acting department, just saying.
First up on the carte du jour – my personal favourite – a short film “The Brave Unseen” directed by Duan Myburgh, shot in 2012.
The film is a gripping tale about a young newly trained and inducted policewoman, Grace, who is finding her purpose in the world as a lesbian. We go on a journey with her as we see her living with her mother and sibling, the struggles she faced and she tugged at our hearts.
The film confronts the ever-growing concern regarding ‘corrective rape’ in South Africa and how it affects mostly the Black Lesbian community in townships around the country.
The film takes an unexpected turn, when Grace falls in love with a white woman, Emma, a colleague who works as a social worker.
She is also trying to win a case against the local criminal who is on a quest to “heal” the lesbians of the community.
Typically case dockets are missing and are nowhere to be found, the only chance to put the criminal in jail.
The two soon get entangled in the love scene and are yet to be faced with their worst fear when Emma, is brutally raped and killed by the local gang. Forced to face them, Grace embarks on a journey of justice to put the offenders behind bars.
The second motion picture is about acceptance and the fear of rejection. Mkhonto AKA MK is about a young “man” being initiated so that his father can accept him as a man. It’s an eccentric cast, flamboyant MK is visible as the crowd is immediately drawn to him, and it’s rare that you see such gaudiness in an initiation school, the irony in that is amusing. Friendships are made and we see the true nature of what it is to truly to be a man.
The vision of the Oko Macanda, director of this feature, is well played out by the actors, it shows us that the norms of the world and how we are expected to behave because of what’s under our underwear, and that is not always the case.
Lastly, a less intense film, brought to us by Benedicte Roumega, a 25 minutes of pure fun, laughter, wit, and unimaginable circumstances that we’re often faced with and frequently don’t know how to deal with them. Based on a true story, we are shown struggling business owners are on the verge of bankruptcy.
Ryan and Roland are forced to make ends meet as their salon is struggling to produce revenue and attract customers.
Enchanted by the magic world, they decide to uplift their salon by putting out the bad energy and in with the fresh, but be careful what you wish for because it may just come true. The featured films all have their various messages and different routes to portray such, but one thing in common about them is that there is a mutual purpose, the fight and awareness of the LGBTQI community as a whole. The unity we have we’ll surely get us somewhere, the small progress is yet to be celebrated with time and patience, the world we’ll see us as one.
“We have the Constitution, no one can take that away from us.”
– Justice Edwin Cameron.
Peace and Love
Previous by Zandile
2013 Sept. 30: Intimate kisses at Soweto Pride 2013