Mamela Nyamza

Shift (Performance)

Shift (Performance)

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Artist's Statement

The performance looks at sexual freedom in South Africa, both historically and in the present. Fifteen years after democracy, what are the gaps between anti-apartheid aspirations and present day realities? How can the most progressive constitution in the world, which was worked out and earned through a historic liberation struggle in South Africa and which enshrines equality for people of all sexualities, be fulfilled in reality? It looks at private and public life, tradition and the law, the state and the individual, and at the struggle against apartheid and for sexual liberation. The performance celebrates the lives of, and commemorates, all women in sport, including Eudy Simelane, the Banyana Banyana soccer player who was stabbed 27 times because she was acting ‘like a man’. The work draws attention to the struggle of women in sport and to girl children who experience discrimination in their own country, such as currently is the case with Caster Semenya. Mixed media link the drama and the dance, the 1960s and the present day, contextualizing the stories and serving as a bridge between different places, times and spaces, giving context to the idea that issues relating to sexuality never take place in isolation.

Artist's Biography

Born: Gugulethu, Cape Town, 1976. Lives and works in Cape Town. Trained at the Zama Dance School under the Royal Academy of Dance; Received a National Diploma in Ballet from the Pretoria Technikon. Awards and scholarships: Mr. Grobbelaar & Ackerman Scholarship; Alvin Ailley American Dance Centre; ‘The Dying Swan’; Vienna International Dance Festival; FNB Phillip Stein Choreographers Grant.