E L E G Y
Elegy is an ongoing series of commemorative gestures initiated in 2015. 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. Significant to this 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 opens a distinctly postcolonial 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 performances are staged in various locations and contexts – each realised in memory of a specific individual.
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.
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 / 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 / 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 / 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.