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Uncles and Angels

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An interactive dance/video collaboration between Nelisiwe Xaba and Mocke J van Veuren.

The Reed Dance is a colourful, cultural celebration that promotes respect for young women and preserves the custom of keeping girls as virgins until marriage.

Uncles, kings, big men, presidents, powerful men, VIP men, old women, strict aunties, young girls, purity, respect, heritage, tradition…

In 2011, more than 30,000 young Zulu girls participated in the annual Reed Dance. President Zuma planted a tree, on invitation from Bantu Holomisa, and promised 29,999 more. King Goodwill Zwelithini celebrated 40 years of his kingship. 2012 will see the 20th Reed Dance since the King
re-established the tradition, in response to the emergence of the AIDS crisis in the late 80’s. Today, the line of reasoning is that culturally enforcing sexual chastity for girls will be an effective means of curbing the spread of HIV. This at a time when gyrating young female bodies are used in election campaigns and the Reed Dance has become a tourist attraction.

Uncles and Angels explores questions around chastity, virginity testing, purity, and tradition, while at the same time casting a wry glance at the power relations encoded in the interaction of body and projections on stage.


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Additional Info

  • Choreographer: Nelisiwe Xaba
  • Venue/Time: The Goodman Gallery, Arts on Main - Feb 17, 18 & 19 @ 18:00
  • Title of Work: Uncles and Angels
  • Music: ---
  • Costume Design: ---
  • Set Design: ---
  • Lighting Design: ---
  • Director/Artistic Director: ---
  • Dancers/Performers/Cast: Nelisiwe Xaba and Mocke J van Veuren.
  • Video: ---
  • Other: ---
  • Company: ---
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