"Covid Zero: #WeAreDyingHere". Picture: Supplied
"Covid Zero: #WeAreDyingHere". Picture: Supplied

Siphokazi Jonas' GBV play makes it on Time Out New York list

By Entertainment Reporter Time of article published Jul 7, 2020

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Well known South African writer, performer and director Siphokazi Jonas' show, "Covid Zero: #WeAreDyingHere",  has made it on New York City's "Time Out" list. 

The popular website gives New Yorkers an up-to-the-minute guide to New York City events, restaurants, bars, nightlife and NYC ephemera.  

Jonas' gender-based violence (GBV) production, "Covid Zero: #WeAreDyingHere" was listed as a great theatre show to watch online among other world class shows like "Mint Theater Company: Summer Stock Streaming Festival", "Round House Theatre: Homebound" and "Metropolitan Opera: La Bohème". 

In the show Jonas takes a hard look at GBV in a piece that she performs alongside co-writers: spoken-word artist Hope Netshivhambe and singer Babalwa Makwetu. 

The three women respond to the prevalence of the violent culture of harassment, abuse, rape and femicide in SA.  

Recorded in February at the Joburg Theatre in Johannesburg, the show is just R50, but for slightly more you can help provide blankets for homeless women or masks, sanitizers and food for local students.  

“We want to challenge ourselves and all members of society to re-imagine a more hopeful future where the most vulnerable are not overwhelmed by fear,'' Jonas said about the show. 

She said it also asks how we can continue these conversations, not just during 16 Days of Activism but 365-days-a-year.

“Before work began on realising "#WeAreDyingHere", I felt as if art has no real place in terms of true change in the world; a poem is not going to change murderous intent. A fellow writer reminded me that our work gives us language and helps us to articulate ourselves. That’s what we hope "#WeAreDyingHere" will illicit," she said.

"#WeAreDyingHere" is an important work in speaking back, speaking against and leading the conversation, which needs to be had within our communities.

“When we got together as the creators of this work, we weren't even sure what needed to be said. We were trying to figure out how to articulate our rage, but we also wanted to challenge ourselves to write from a position of autonomy and strength. Through this show we grapple with the idea of hope in such seemingly hopeless conditions," she said. 

Jonas hopes men come to the forefront in the fight against GBV.

“I cannot stress this enough. We need people eager to challenge norms within their circles and who are willing to be accountable. We’re also taking the hashtag conversation offline. If you are looking for a moment to breathe in the chaos - to be encouraged, to speak and listen to different communities - this is for you. 

"Although the title of the show is "#WeAreDyingHere", we want to leave everyone with an overwhelming sense of just how much we want to live: to thrive, fearlessly, and as freely as possible," said Jonas. 

Audience can stream the show online at www.covid-zero.co.za until July 13. Tickets are R50. 

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