Musician, author and newbie actor Nakhane Touré has been on the receiving end of homophobic hate speech since starring in the "The Wound". Director John Trengrove initially asked Touré to score the movie and later asked him to audition for the lead role.
The film tackles the sensitive topic of traditional initiation schools within the Xhosa community, and attracted controversy and censure from some for depicting certain scenes. Tradition holds that what happens during these initiation rites stays highly private. The film attracted further attention for its portrayal of same-sex desires between young men during the rite.
In an interview in the Mail & Guardian on Friday, Touré, who is gay, opened up about the threatening messages he has received since starring in the film. "They always sign off saying things like 'fucking faggot', 'stabane', 'moffie ndini [goddamn moffie]' or whatever. It's like their little finishing flourish," he told the newspaper. He added elsewhere in the interview that people said "those things don't happen in initiation school. But I know it does, because it happened to me. I was hit on all the time."
Touré was also accused of doing the movie to make money. "It's things like 'you must be really greedy for money to sell our culture down the river'. I'm like, if you only knew how much I was paid."
He said the messages were harsher than he expected. "I had prepared myself for a backlash of some sort, but I didn't know it would be quite this homophobic ... I mean, people are swearing at my mom. I'm like 'what did she do?'"
But he has rejected the notion that he is "lukewarm" as a Xhosa person because of taking part in the movie. "I am -- if such a thing exists -- a practising Xhosa person ... But that doesn't mean I have to say yes to everything my culture says. No culture is perfect."
Despite the attacks Touré maintained it was important to continue to having these debates, even if some of it has turned violent. "I would never police someone's feelings, though. People have the right to their anger."
Read the full interview here. (Embargoed)