The Wound: Dark and Stirring Coming-Of-Age

A rough and unflinching dive into self-discovery.

The Wound Cert 15 1h 28min 7pm Eldon Building Screening Room 1.10 Wednesday 12 February

The reticent Xolani returns halfhearted to the Xhosa to help as ‘caregiver’ to Kwanda, one of the boys undergoing the Ukwaluka ritual—a rite of passage into manhood where boys are taken up the mountain to receive circumcision. The boys spend the following weeks in the mountains while they fast and wait for their wounds to heal. Having undergone the ritual himself as a teenager, Xolani’s interest in this journey, this physical and spiritual transformation, is practically non-existent.

What draws him back is the chance to renew his sexual relationship with his childhood friend, now fellow ‘caregiver’ in the ritual, Vija. However Vija, happily married with child, and who projects a hyper-masculine view of himself, denies Xolani any chance of reconnection, sexual or otherwise. Kwanda, put on this journey by his father on account of being too soft and struggling against the ideologies of Ukwaluka rite, discovers the true nature of Xolani’s relationship with Vija.

Tensions begin to rise between the three men whose facade slowly begins to crack under the pressure of pretending to be something they aren’t. This unsettling but beautiful journey across the cultural landscape of traditional masculinity offers no easy answers. But for all its challenging moments, The Wound is a deeply rewarding experience.

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