“Mama Africa”: HIV/AIDS and national identity in South African choreography

Article


Castelyn, S. 2008. “Mama Africa”: HIV/AIDS and national identity in South African choreography. South African Theatre Journal.
AuthorsCastelyn, S.
Abstract

Choreography articulates the body’s somatic and cultural identity, and a reading of South African dance theatre uncovers a complex and multifaceted version of the South African body, for instance, how the body is employed in medical and national discourse. Flatfoot Dance Company is a contemporary dance company based in Durban, South Africa. The company’s recent choreography
of TRANSMISSION: Mother to Child (2005) explores the theme of motherhood, focusing on HIV/AIDS and mother-to-child transmission, the surrogacy relationship between ‘black’ domestic workers and ‘white’ children, and the construction of the nation of South Africa as mother: a Mama Africa. More specifically, a reading of TRANSMISSION: Mother to Child uncovers a complex and multifaceted version of the South African body in relation to national discourse and HIV/AIDS, especially the term ‘mother-to-child transmission’ and its effects. In response to Flatfoot Dance Company’s choreography, I created a solo performance project entitled Mothers and Daughters (2005), in which I used my own embodied experience of the surrogate relationship between ‘black’ domestic workers and ‘white’ children in apartheid South Africa in order to suggest that the inheritance of this relationship makes me, like all South Africans, regardless of ‘race’, gender, or HIV status, responsible for the transmission and treatment of HIV/AIDS.

KeywordsChoreography; South Africa; Dance theatre; HIV/AIDS; mother-to-child transmission; contemporary dance
JournalSouth African Theatre Journal
ISSN1013-7548
Year2008
Publisher's version
License
CC BY-ND
Web address (URL)http://www.journals.co.za/ej/ejour_theatre.html
http://hdl.handle.net/10552/1058
Publication dates
Print2008
Publication process dates
Deposited25 Nov 2010
Additional information

Citation:
Castelyn, S. (2008) ‘“Mama Africa”: HIV/AIDS and national identity in South African choreography’, South African Theatre Journal, 22, pp.62-83.

Page range62-83
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https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/8658q

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