Wound, The: John Trengove’s South African (Gay Themed) Drama (LGBTQ)

John Trengove’s South African erotic ritualistic drama, The Wound, premiered in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition of the 2017 Sundance Film Fest, and then played in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Fest.

The film opened the 2017 Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Fest.

Gay Directors, Gay Films? By Emanuel Levy (Columbia University Press, August 2015).

It was selected as the South African entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, making the December shortlist.

The story tracks a closeted relationship between two men in the context of the Xhosa initiation ritual of Ulwaluko.

Director Trengove was inspired by the book, A Man Who is Not a Man, a novel by Thando Mgqolozana on the topic of the Xhosa initiation ceremony.

Xolani, a factory worker, joins the men of his community at the annual initiation ceremony in the mountains of Eastern Cape. In addition to serving as a mentor to the boys, Xolani awaits the annual tradition because it gives him chance to reestablish his sexual and romantic relationship with Vija.

When Xolani is assigned to be the mentor of Kwanda, a young man from Johannesburg, he quickly realizes that Kwanda is also gay, and Kwanda soon realizes the nature of the relationship between Vija and Xolani.

Tensions soon rise between the three men.


Nakhane as Xolani
Bongile Mantsai as Vija
Niza Jay Ncoyini as Kwanda
Siphosethu “Seth Singer” Ngcetane as Nkosi
Loyiso Lloyd N Ngqayana as Vija’s Initiate
Sibabalwe Esbie Ngqayana as Zuko
Halalisani Bradley Cebekhulu as Lukas
Inga Qwede as Ncedo


Directed by John Trengove
Produced by Elias Ribeiro and Cait Pansegrouw
Written by Trengove, Thando Mgqolozana, Malusi Bengu
Music by João Orecchia
Cinematography: Paul Ozgur
Edited by Matthew Swanepoel
Running time: 88 minutes
Language Xhosa; subtitled