Nil: Talk politics, privilege, and eroticism with Gavin Krastin

Silly and perverse, “Nil” is a disruption and queering of the Twelve Labours of Hercules and its phallocentric classicism, approached from within the current de-colonial South African context. Photo: Megs Kelly.

“I took a pee on stage, and pulled the flag out of my bum.”

Helen Zille greets audience members as they shuffle through the door. She is eerily smiling in this opening scene, and the performance appears to begin. Next, a magic trick and the flag-pulling-out-of-the-bum. The clear mixture of nudity and South African symbols make real the idea of embracing people as they are.

Playing with themes of politics, privilege, eroticism and how one positions themselves in South Africa’s society, the short, striking scenes in this performance leave you wondering what’s coming next.

The artist describes his piece as a show deconstructing ourselves as South Africans, and coming to terms with our identity and sworded histories. As much as addressing our histories can be psychologically violent, he believes there can also be enjoyment in undoing yourself, and shedding our bodies to emerge as more conscientious and emotionally aware people.

On the threshold of pre-orgasmic, it will certainly leave you desiring more.

By Chitalu Mwanakatwe