ITC New Collaboration 2009

Amakwerekwere, 2009, Infecting the City festival at tibault square

Created by:
Heeten Bhagat (Zimbabwe)
Brigitte Defaix (Holland)
Athi Patra Ruga (RSA)
Steve Bandoma (DRC/RSA)


In 2008 the Spier Performing Arts Festival moved from the wine lands into the Cape Town CBD and became ‘Infecting The City’ (ITC). The arts have transformative power, the ability to widen our perceptions, open our imaginations, and show us the world from different perspectives: they belong in the centre of society. Confined in galleries and theatres they are often beyond the bounds of most people in our unequal community. ITC aims to make a festival of groundbreaking works accessible to people from all walks of life.

One of the features of the festival is that no works are performed in theatres: all are staged in unconventional locations: public squares, museums, fountains. This adds to the immediacy and excitement of the pieces, and provides a challenge to the creative artists who make them. In addition, many of the works are ‘site-specific’: they are integrally related to the sites in which they are staged – the history, the buildings, the flux of contemporary life. They cannot simply be restaged elsewhere. They are like fleeting monuments to the moment we live in, and are very much a part of our city.

Another quality of ITC is that it has a theme that the works pivot around. This year’s theme is “Home Affairs”, named after a certain inept government department, and investigating issues of citizen/immigrant, insider/outsider, inclusion/exclusion.
Millions of people across the world are on the move or have settled in new countries fleeing persecution, poverty and hopelessness, or looking for better opportunities. The notion of national identity has become fluid in the 21st century. In host countries the fear of cultural dilution and scarcity of resources and employment can erupt into xenophobic rage, as we witnessed across South Africa in 2009. We have asked artists to grapple with this subject matter, to deepen our understanding around these tensions that haunt our country and our psyche,

So for a week we transform Cape Town into a city-sized gallery exhibiting provocative, cutting-edge international and local artworks that resonate with one another within the urban landscape; a huge theatrical happening to disturb the humdrum and concrete. On behalf of the ITC team I urge you to spend a day or two in our wonderful city imbibing diversity, culture and history, and enjoying delicious food at our partner restaurants. Get infected!

Brett Bailey (artistic curator)

Brett Bailey (curator)

Cell: +27 (0)82 578 8209


A sector of the population with very little opportunity to see exciting, challenging performances is our school learners. ITC approached the corporate sector to sponsor 50 children a day from Arts and Culture Focus Schools across the peninsula to attend the festival. We want these young people to be stimulated, inspired and educated, and to get a sense of the complex relationships between history, society, architecture and the arts.
The scholars are led on a guided tour of the city from performance to performance, snapping photos for an online archive, enjoying a lunch, and finally participating in a facilitated workshop to discuss and analyse their experience in terms of the “Home Affairs” theme.
These youths are the future artists and creative thinkers of our city. They will be the custodians of the treasures of Cape Town. We applaud the investment the sponsors have made in the development of these learners and in our heritage. Each day of ITC is named in honour of the sponsor for that day.


• To put provocative, cutting-edge, high-quality performance works that engage with the complexities of our society into public arenas where they are accessible to the general public.
• To redefine and enliven the cityscape with performance.
• To make explicit the ‘hidden histories’ of the city.
• To bring culture lovers into the cbd.
• To give culturally-orientated learners a wonderful enriching experience of the history and complexities of the city, and of how the urban landscape, the arts and social issues can inter-relate.
• To establish an exciting, challenging platform to extend the skills and capacities of local and international artists.


Twelve established performance makers from South Africa, neighbouring states and Europe have been divided into three teams. In residency in Cape Town for five weeks, each of these teams will make a large scale, outdoor, site-specific work that investigates the issues around ‘Home Affairs’. With reference to the recent xenophobia outrage, the work of these exciting creatives will draw on the history of our city, the shadows that haunt our urban landscape, the complexities around immigrants and other ‘outsiders’ on the fringes of our society.
This aspect of ITC aims to foster a culture of vibrant street art in our city and, by bringing together diverse artists from different parts of the region and the world, to forge a creative network, to inject new skills and approaches into the city and to send these out into the region.
Some of the local collaborators include Alfred Hinkel (artistic director of Cape Town’s foremost dance company, Jazzart), Julia Raynham (avant garde Cape Town choreographer) and Athi-Patra Ruga (Johannesburg fashion designer extraordinaire).
Some of the visiting participants include Heeten Bhagat (Zimbabwean artist, curator and designer), Michael Lister (UK outdoor-theatre director), Brigitte Defaix (Dutch site-specific performance maker) and Fabrice Guillot (French aerial choreographer).

Amakwerekwere, 2009

Each of the twelve artists of the New Collaborations transforms the back of a bakkie (pick-up truck) into an ‘invisible’ performance installation. The bakkies tour the streets of the CBD displaying their poignant or idiosyncratic loads.

An evening in the ‘living archive’ of Cape Town: sixty experts from a boggling array of fields gather to share their knowledge and opinions on a chosen topic: “These are the times that we’re talking about”. Your ticket has four random numbers on it corresponding to the numbers on the experts’ tables. A bell marks the time and you move between tables engaging in four intimate and lively 20 minute interactions with a cosmologist, a politician, a sex worker, an historian, a trends analyst… who knows who you might meet and what you may learn…
The evening of Thursday 25 Feb only.

incwaba lendoda lise cankwe ndlela – the grave of a man is next to the road
A collage of stories, songs, rituals and images, looking at the dislocation of young people whose parents migrated to Cape Town from the Eastern Cape along the N2, and who are constantly on the move between the traditional space in the Eastern Cape and the space of (post)modernity in Cape Town; between the peripheries of the rural homestead and the centres of the metropolitan settlement. A stirring, vibrant multi-media work produced by one of the country’s top performance companies, Magnet Theatre, devised by Mandla Mbothwe.

An Histrionic
Celebrated Spier Contemporary award winners – anarchic performance-makers erf [31] (Peter van Heerden and Andre Laubser), and Anne Historical – take up residence in the Castle of Good Hope for a month to research the physical, architectural and mythological history of the Castle.
Members of the public will be invited to join the team on “An Histrionic” - a guided tour of the Castle that uses parody, performance and installation to explore the contradictory histories that lay claim to this, the most significant heritage site in South Africa's colonial history. History itself is presented as something that is constantly remade in the present: uncertain and uncanny.

Tuning into the Void:
A void is like an invisible body hanging in mid-air. It is the space between two objects, between two bodies, serving to distinguish two visible forms that move side by side. Suspended from a crane in a sculptural trapezium of rope, three dancers of the acclaimed French company Retouramont transform the skyline of the city in their spellbinding exploration of the void.
Designed and choreographed by Fabrice Guillot. Funded by IFAS.
Saturday 21 & Monday 22 February only.

Eyton Rd
Australian/South African, Talya Chalef’s moving meditation on displacement, traverses her grandparents’ flight through the concentration camps of the Holocaust, her own experience of shifting cities, and stories of displaced people from around the world. Eyton Rd is a journey along transit stops, through old houses, family photographs and faraway maps, tracing bloodlines and memories, sickness and trauma through the body and through times.
Directed by Talya Chalef.

Call Cutta in a Box: an intercontinental phone play
Imagine you are buying a ticket at the box office for an individual show on a specific day, but are not led to the auditorium of the theatre. Instead, you get the key for a room and a sketch of how to get there. You open the door and you find a phone ringing. You pick up the phone and a person with a strange accent strikes up a conversation with you. The voice belongs to a call centre agent from Calcutta, India. On the notebook desktop in your room images and videos are opening up out of nowhere. A story is about to develop and you realize that the call centre agent and you and your city are the very first protagonists of the plot.
By Rimini Apparat in collaboration with the Callcenter Descon Limited in Kalkutta.
Funded by Pro-Helvetia.

Several low key and/or volatile interventions, to be performed by a range of local performers and other artists.