CFMS film lecturer Dr Liani Maasdorp on censorship in Inxeba ban
Censorship, one of the insidious strategies used by the apartheid government, has made an ominous comeback in South Africa with the recent X18 classification of the award-winning film Inxeba (The Wound), writes senior lecturer in film, Dr Liani Maasdorp in a recent article on The Conversation. In South Africa the film can now only be shown in locations licensed to screen adult entertainment.
The apartheid government tried to maintain its power over a racially segregated South African population through controlling the media. This included censoring films – initially international and then also local ones. The Publications Control Board had the power to ban a film outright, demand scenes be cut or, bizarrely, to restrict the screening of a film to certain (usually white only) audiences.
After apartheid ended, the Film and Publication Board was created to fulfil the role of screening and rating films. It is this body that took the decision to reclassify Inxeba. In my opinion it has claimed for itself a paternalistic role, attempting to dictate what South African audiences may and may not see. Like the apartheid government and the control board of old, they are infantilising South Africans. They want to protect citizens from perspectives that they, as individuals, don’t agree with.
But this is not their right. They simply don’t trust South Africans to be “sophisticated” enough to make up their own minds.
Read Dr Maasdorp's entire in-depth and contextualised article here on The Conversation's website.