Musician, Actor

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Nakhane Dazed 100
Nakhane, taken from the spring/summer 2018 issue of DazedPhotography Jamie Morgan, styling Gary David Moore

A film role ignited homophobic controversy in his native South Africa, but the actor and musician isn’t backing down

LocationLondon, United Kingdom

Growing up as a gay Christian in the small South African town of Alice, actor and songwriter Nakhane’s debut film role is close to autobiographical. The Wound tells the story of two men undergoing the ancient Xhosa initiation into manhood of Ulwaluko, who fall in love and face a deep-seated and dangerous backlash.

The Wound may have won Nakhane a handful of awards at film festivals from Durban to Palm Springs and been shortlisted for an Oscar, but the actor suffered for his art, threatened with violence. The film was also censored in court – South African authorities attempted to stamp it with the kind of ‘R’ rating usually reserved for porn, but both Nakhane and the filmmakers fought back.  

Now, the London-based Nakhane has released his second album of lilting balladry and electronic-tinged pop, You Will Not Die, produced by Ben Christophers (Bat for Lashes). Much like The Wound, the album is an unapologetic confessional – an ode to his sexuality and to his unflinching vision.

Jack Mills