The awarded performance ‘Elegy’ by South African artist Gabrielle Goliath is a powerful lamentation for victims of sexual violence. With every performance dedicated to a woman or LGBTQI+ individual raped and murdered in South Africa, the artist sheds light on rape culture in South Africa and around the world. After the performance Mercedes Zandwijken (initiator of the Keti Koti Dialoog Tafel) will enter into conversation with Gabrielle Goliath and intercultural psychiatrist Glenn Helberg about the work.

Initiated in 2015, 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. Goliath uses the traditional elegy to make traumatic memories shareable. The performance does not focus on the violence, but on the individuality of every victim. Durational and physically taxing, the performance sustains a kind of sung cry – evoking the presence of an absent individual -provoking a sense of distress and sorrow in the viewer.

Gabrielle Goliath is a multidisciplinary artist. In her work she explores challenging sociopolitical concerns, engaging the viewer in a visual and often physical sense. Her internationally acclaimed work focusses on the trauma of violence, particularly in regard to the experience of women.

Glenn Helberg is a transcultural psychiatrist, working mostly with young people having a bicultural background. Helberg is actively involved in discussions about racism in the Netherlands.

Mercedes Zandwijken (moderator) is a social activist. She is the initiator of the Keti Koti Dialoog tafel, a tradition to dwell on the commemoration and abolishment of the Dutch slavery and the present-day consequences of that.

Director: Gabrielle Goliath
Actors and singers: Moloko Letsoalo, Sinesipho Funo, Thandiswa Mpongwana, Ncumisa Garishe

Prior to the performance, at 19:00, we open the exposition Speak Truth to Power with curators Ingrid Masondo and Cathal McKee.


This programme is part of the Afro_Vibes Performing Arts Festival (3 – 13 October 2019). For two days Afrovibes Festival will take place in De Balie and give new perspectives on the African continent by staging contemporary and urban theatre, dance, and music. This year the festival’s theme is ‘Speaking Truth to Power’. Artistic director of the festival is Jay Pather, director of the Institute for Creative Arts (ICA) at the University of Cape Town.