L-R: Jelena Kuljic and Maureen Velile Majola at backstage before their performance at Studio 44, Constanza Macras in Berlin last night.
Jelena Kuljic about to sing “Senzeni na?”
L-R: Tamar Saphir, Zanele Muholi responding to questions, Eckhard Weber (moderated the session after the performance and ‘We Live In Fear’ screening) and Maureen Velile Majola on the far right.
Lerato Shadi, Tamar Saphir and Sabelo Mlangeni
© Zanele Muholi and Erik Dettwiler
Part of the text below was first posted on Dorkypark website
The performance SIFELA I AYIKHO – which is a Zulu expression translated loosely to WE ARE BEING KILLED FOR NOTHING – is exploring parts of South African social landscapes in which the lives of black lesbian and trans women in South Africa, including our own, is always exposed to danger.
The project is an effort to reclaim citizenship and is also a call for an end to queercide, a term coined by Zanele Muholi for the systematic atrocities and hate crimes against lesbians, gay men and trans people in South Africa.
The project is motivated by the ongoing epidemic of brutal murders of black lesbians in the post-Apartheid South Africa.
We are in a crisis.
One lesbian death is a loss to the entire nation.
Children have been orphaned by hate crimes.
Lovers lost their beloved.
Family members mourn their relatives and children.
The workplace and classroom is robbed of its professions.
South Africa’s democratic laws instituted by the Constitution of 1996 are meant to protect the LGBTI community from all forms of discrimination, but our communities have been invaded by an epidemic of violent hate crimes, including callous murders and ‘curative rapes.’
Therefore we need to take action as concerned members of larger the society.Innocent individuals have been dismembered due to sexuality and gender expression.
The performance takes form of a stage protest, poetry, song and musical instruments are used to emphasize the ongoing incidents.
The performance will expand on an existing body of work that documents hate crimes against black lesbians that Zanele Muholi developed since 2004 and consists of three parts:
PART 1 – Blank Portraits
PART 2 – Crime scene memorial (motion picture)
PART 3 – Previous Film titled ‘Isililo’ – projection
Zanele Muholi is a visual activist born in Umlazi, Durban and currently lives in Johannesburg. Studied Photography at Market Photo Workshop, Newtown, Johannesburg and later, MFA: Documentary Media at Ryerson University, Toronto. Muholi is the founder of a collective call Inkanyiso with a Queer Art Activism media outlet. She has contributed her photography to many queer and art publications and academic journals.
Maureen Velile Majola is an activist, poet and writer from Alexandra township, Johannesburg in South Africa. She is a young feminist and currently associated with Coalition of African Lesbian (CAL) as the Documenting Officer. She is a crew member of Inkanyiso.org founded by Zanele Muholi.
Jelena Kuljic was born in Serbia and moved to Germany in 2003 to study singing at the Jazz Institute Berlin. Along with her own band, Yelena K & The Love Trio (Double Moon Records 2010), she has been a featured guest in many music and theatre projects through-out Europe. Jelena has worked extensively as a singer and actress with the director David Marton. Some of the their productions have included such important theatres as Vienna’s Burg Theater, The Royal Theater of Copenhagen, Volksbuehne Berlin, MC93 Paris/ Schaubühne. Since 2013 Jelena is working with Constanza Macras/Dorkypark. In March 2014 Jelena’s band KUU! is releasing their first album Sex gegen Essen.