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Converting Eviction asks pertinent questions about what it means to belong



30 May
The Centre for the Less Good Idea
As par of the For Once Programme

23 November
Uncle Tom’s, Soweto

28-30 November
WITS Amphitheatre, Johannesburg

2 December
State Theatre, Pretoria


14-22 January
Six performances at Gassnerallee Zürich

24-25 January
Two performances at Kaserne Basel

8-9 February
Two performances at Dampfzentrale Bern

Converting Eviction (working title) is a project between South African and Swiss artists Sello Pesa and Tim Zulauf. The project involves people from both contexts, engaging Humphrey Maleka (SA) and Hlengiwe Lushaba Madlala (SA), Vivien Bullert (DE/CH) and Christoph Rath (AU/CH) as performers, as well as musician Tracy September (SA/CH) and Sandi MX Blouse (SA).

The texts will be conceptualised by Lindiwe Matshikiza (SA), Tim Zulauf (CH/DE) and Zamo Mkhwanazi (SA/CH) inspired by additional research from Hennie van Vuuren and the team of Open Secrets (SA), KEESA/ADR – Apartheid Debt and Reparations Campaign, Basel (CH) and the Khulumani Support Group (SA).

For the first stage of development, Converting Eviction takes the form of a theatrical installation. It is an ongoing research-process that looks closely at South Africa’s dense and extraordinary struggles with decolonisation. Tim Zulauf’s engagement with the South African context emerged originally from a couple of research trips supported by Pro Helvetia Johannesburg during the course of 2014 and 2015.

This project deals with the history of property, belonging and the agency to create meaningful lives within dysfunctional structures. It looks back into the ways that countries such as Switzerland, Germany, Luxemburg and France profited from dealing with the Apartheid regime, and how the structures from these former economic relations perpetuate today. In relation to nations in transformation, Converting Eviction asks: What political and economic structures lead to people being evicted? What are appropriate and what are the minimum conditions needed to make a home for oneself and family? What are the traumas of the past that are restricting people? And what is the agency that people have to convert hostile environments in a way that suits them?

The first stage is supported by Pro Helvetia Johannesburg and incubated at The Centre for the Less Good Idea as part of the For Once programme with a performance on the 30th of May 2019.

The second phase of the project  will take place from the 11th of November 2019 when the Swiss collaborators return to South Africa to begin rehearsals at Uncle Tom’s in Soweto. MoMo Matsunyane will be joining the cast in place of Hlengiwe Lushaba Madlala. Converting Eviction will be performed on the 23rd of November at Uncle Tom’s, thereafter it moves to WITS Amphitheatre for performances on the 28th ,29th and 30th of November with the final performance in South Africa taking place at the State Theatre on the 2nd of December. The cast then travels to Zurich in early January for a tour in Switzerland which ends on the 9th of February 2020.

The work is coproduced with The Centre for the Less Good Idea (Johannesburg), Ntsoana Contemporary Dance Theatre [Johannesburg],  Gessnerallee Zürich (CH), Kaserne Basel (CH), Dampfzentrale and Schlachthaus, Bern (CH) and supported by Stadt Zürich Kultur, Fachstelle Kultur Kanton Zürich, Fachausschuss Theater&Tanz BS/BL, Ernst Göhner Foundation, Migros-Kulturprozent.