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Collage by Ta'Ron Joyner.

Hermanus's Acclaimed 'Moffie' is Probably Not for Black Queers

For all its accomplishments, the success of 'Moffie' lies in creating a cinematic experience for which Black people are probably not the target market.

This essay is part of OkayAfrica's SA Reframed series, featuring personal writing from some of South Africa's best young writers edited by Verashni Pillay.

Since its Johannesburg premiere, I have been unsettled by Oliver Hermanus's latest film, Moffie, loosely based on the titular autobiographical novel by Andre-Carl van der Merwe. The film, follows a teen conscript's journey through the army into the brutal "Border War" in northern Namibia and southern Angola, and then back into apartheid society again as a man.

As he moves from his send-off party at home, to his training camp and then to the front, we see our protagonist, Nicholas van der Swart (played by Kai Luke Brummer), trying to make sense of his desire for men inside the cauldron of apartheid's violent masculinity.

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