The 6th Infecting The City Public Arts Festival 12-16 March 2013, Cape Town Like facebook for updates Image Map


Wed 7th 9.00pm| Fri 9th 8.45pm

Long Street Baths

Long Street Baths at night, bathed in red light. An operatic noise soundtrack composed by Spoek Mathambo and Athi-Patra Ruga. Rising above synchronised swimmers is the “Ilulwane”, performing a discordant aria against this soundscape.


Literally translated from Xhosa as “one who floats at night”, Ilulwane is the derogatory term for a Xhosa male who has been circumcised in a hospital rather than in the traditionally sanctioned initiation ceremony. The figure of the ilulwane, recognised as neither boy nor man, creates a space in which masculinity, masquerade, identity and sexuality can be interrogated and the tension between tradition and modernity explored.

Drawing on diverse yet interlinking themes, this performance was originally inspired by Alvin Baltrop’s photographs of homosexual and “outsider” encounters in New York in the 1970s and 80s. Ruga provocatively links the Xhosa initiation with another rite of passage: “cruising”.

Please note that due to the nature of the venue for Ilulwane, spaces are limited. Places will be assigned on a first come, first served basis, however the doors to the Long Street Baths will only open at 8.45pm on Friday.

Performed by Athi-Patra Ruga, with synchronised swimmers coached by Sue Manners-Wood.
Presented by the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts in association with Whatiftheworld Gallery.

Artist's Profile
Athi Patra Ruga

Athi-PatraRuga’s current artistic practice includes performance, video, and hand-embroidered textile works. He has performed and exhibited in London, New York, Buenos Aires, Milan and China. He lives and works in Cape Town. Athi-Patra Ruga describes his working method as resulting from ‘the clash between material and memory’, but notions of utopia and dystopia also form a common thread. Athi-Patra was part of the Infecting The City 2009 collaboration Amakwerekwere.


Public Arts Festival

6th - 10th March 2012

presented by The Africa Centre

Public art has always been part of who we are on this continent and in this country. The interconnectedness of the African “us” has often been impeded however, throwing people apart and far away from each other, creating a physical and psychic separation. Infecting the City is a small attempt at igniting this interconnectedness through artistic expression, making public space public.

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