ELEGY / About

E L E G Y 

Elegy is a long-term commemorative performance project. Staged in various locations and contexts, each performance calls together a group of female vocal performers who collectively enact a ritual of mourning. Durational and physically taxing, the performance sustains a kind of sung cry – evoking the presence of an absent individual.

Responding to the physical, ontological and structural outworkings of rape-culture in South Africa, Elegy performances recall the identity of individuals whose subjectivities have been fundamentally violated – and who are, as such, all too easily consigned to a generic, all-encompassing victimhood. With each performance commemorating a specific woman or LGBTQI+ individual raped and killed in South Africa, significant to the work is how loss becomes a site for community, and for empathic, cross-cultural and cross-national encounters. Seeking to work around the kinds of symbolic violence through which traumatised black bodies are routinely objectified, Elegy performances open a distinctly decolonial and intersectional space, wherein mourning is presented as a social and productive work – not in the sense of healing or ‘closure’, but as a necessary and sustained irresolution.

ELEGY / Karabo Mokoena - Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre, Johannesburg, November 2017

Performers: Miseka Gaqa, Banele Lukhele, Grace Magubane, Nomvuyo Manomza, Sibongile Mthiyane, Litho Nqai, Pretty Skhosana 

Reported missing by concerned family members, the body of 22-year-old Karabo Mokoena was discovered on the 29th of April, 2017, dumped in a shallow grave in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg. Burnt beyond recognition, her disposed body was allegedly covered with a car tyre, doused in pool acid and petrol and then set alight. Karabo’s former lover Sandile Kagiso Mantsoe - a 27-year old father of three and Johannesburg-based forex trader - has been charged with her murder and defeating the ends of justice. Denied bail by the High Court, his trial will resume in April, 2018.

ELEGY / Camron Britz - Spielart Festival, St. Johannes Church, Munich, November 2017

Performers: Solomía Antonyk, Natalya Boeva, Mirranda Khayakazi Madlala, Vero Miller, S'Bongile Mntambo, Sibongile Mthiyane, Litho Nqai

On the 2nd of July 2017, fourteen-year-old Camron Britz was lured away from a neighbourhood bonfire in Ocean View, Cape Town, by Mogammad Yaagiyah Rubain, under the pretense that her father was looking for her. She was found the next day in a clump of bushes alongside the road. Half clothed, she had vaginally and anally raped, and her body mutilated, with a foreign object resembling a reed pushed down her throat. Rubain, who has been arested for the rape and murder of Camron, is currently standing trial - not only for the rape and murder of camron Britz, but for a number of other cases of sexual molestation and child abuse.

ELEGY / Hannah Cornelius - Spielart Festival, St. Johannes Church, Munich, November 2017

Performers: Solomía Antonyk, Natalya Boeva, Mirranda Khayakazi Madlala, Vero Miller, S'Bongile Mntambo, Sibongile Mthiyane, Litho Nqai

On the night of May 27th 2017, four men abducted twenty-one-year-old student Hannah Cornelius from her car. Her naked, stabbed and strangled body was found the next morning in the brush at Groenhof Farm in Stellenbosch. A court case is currently underway, with four men charged with her rape and murder.

ELEGY / Lerato 'Tambai' Moloi - Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, September 2017

Performers: Phumi Chazile, Sinesipho Funo, Ncumisa Garishe, Moloko Letsoalo, Fanele Mkhwanazi, S’Bongile Mntambo, Thandiswa Mpongwana

Lerato ‘Tambai’ Moloi’s body was found covered with rocks on the 14th of May 2017 in Naledi, Soweto. Her rape and murder was presumably enacted as a hate crime, on account of her identifying openly as a black queer woman. Two men have been arrested in connection with her rape and murder, and are currently awaiting trial. 

ELEGY / Lekita Moore - Duke University, Durham (North Carolina), March 2017

Performers: Christina Beasley, Elena De Angelis, Alexandra Di Giacomo, Maggie Duffey, Katie Lawson, Karen Maney, Lorraine Snyder

The naked and mutilated body of Lekita Moore was discovered in an open veld in Valhalla Park on the 11th of September 2016. Cameron Wilson has been convicted of her rape and murder.  

ELEGY / Noluvo Swelindawo - ICA Live Art Festival, Cape Town, February 2017

Performers: Lungelwa Mdekazi, Nobulumko Mngxekeza, Sbongile Mntambo, Pelisa Myendeki, Nonkululeko Nkwinti, Annemarie Steenkamp, Ernestine Stuur

An openly lesbian woman, Noluvo Swelindawo was abducted from her home by a group of men, murdered and then dumped on the side of a highway near Khayelitsha on the 4th of December, 2016. TSigcine Mdani, the man accused of her murder, was arrested and is currently awaiting trial. 

ELEGY / Koketso 'Queen' - Gwen Frostic Art Centre, Kalamazoo (Michigan), September 2016

Performers: Hannah Earl, Alexandra Galla, Jessica L. Ivey, Hannah Joseph, Clara Stine, Taieshia Tyndall, Melanie Walker

Koketso (or "Queen" as she was known by those close to her) was a sex worker whose raped, murdered and partially decomposed body was found in an area outside of Pretoria known as 'the Bush' on the 9th of November, 2015. To date, no arrests have been made and the perpetrator(s) remains unidentified.

ELEGY / Sinoxolo Mafevuka - Langa Methodist Church, Cape Town, June 2016

Performers: Abongile Fumba, Mandisa Hoboyi, Athenkosi Hoyi, Xolelwa Kakaza, Vasti Knoesen, Nomzamo Mabuto, Zoleka Amanda Meke, Nocwaka Xakekile

Sinoxolo Mafevuka's raped and strangled body was found in a communal toilet in Khayelitsha, Cape Town in May 2016. Cousins Xolisa and Athabile Mafilika are currently on trial for her rape and murder.

ELEGY / Ipeleng Christine Moholane - Goodman Gallery, Cape Town, October 2015

Performers: Cindy-Ann Abrahams, Jacobi Benkenstein, Vasti Knoesen, Goitsemang Lehobye, Amanda Meke, Pelisa Myendeki, LeOui Janse van Rensburg

Ipeleng Christine Moholane's raped and strangled body was found in an open veld in Thembisa, Johannesburg on the 25th of May, 2015. To date, no arrests have been made and the perpetrator(s) remains unidentified.