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.

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.

The works of multidisciplinary artist Gabrielle Goliath explore 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.

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


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.