THIS SONG IS FOR …

2019 -

 

In This song is for… Gabrielle Goliath returns to and re-performs the popular convention of the dedication song, in collaboration with a group of women-led and/or gender-nonconforming musical ensembles.

Entering an immersive filmic and auditory environment, audiences are confronted with a unique collection of dedication songs, each chosen by a survivor of rape and performed as a newly produced cover-version. These are songs of personal significance to the survivors – songs that transport them back to a particular time and place, evoke a sensory world of memory and feeling. 

A sonic disruption is introduced at a point within each song; a recurring musical rupture recalling the ‘broken record’ effect of a repeating, scratched vinyl LP. Presented in this performed disruption is an opportunity for listeners to affectively inhabit a contested space of traumatic recall – one in which the de-subjectifying violence of rape and its psychic afterlives become painfully entangled with personal and political claims to life, dignity, hope, faith, even joy. 

 
 
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THIS SONG IS FOR …

NONDUMISO MSIMANGA

Bohemian Rhapsody (The Braids version - original by Queen)

Performed by Nonku Phiri & Dion Monti

“I tried to kill myself.

I still want to kill myself.

I have to fight to not want to kill myself.

I don’t want to just die.

I’m a fighter and everyday I’m fighting for my life;

fighting for it to matter. 

Here’s to the good fight!”

 
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THIS SONG IS FOR …

A WOMAN WHO CHOOSES TO WITHHOLD HER NAME

Ave Maria (by Charles-François Gounod)

Performed by Jacobi de Villiers & Eric Dippenaar

 

“What shall I say, what shall I write? I have deleted my words several times, written and rewritten them, tried again and again, but I know that even if I delete them, they will be an eternal replay…

An eternal retracing of feelings and of what I relive day after day. The smear is there, it stares at me every day, it forces me to have to confront it straight on, from the side, from the back…there is no getting away from it.

Today I am able to own it without guilt – I was abused. I felt guilty for years and wanted to prove to the world that everything was alright! But deep inside I was shattered.

My wounds will never ever heal completely, and I grow them (I have grown roses in this garden of mine). I care with much tenderness for this little corner of myself, because I know there is no cure, there are but ‘remedies’ taken in small doses to alleviate the symptoms of this silent wound.

Women: water your gardens and fertilize this incurable wound with self-love.

I will not write of the depths I have sunk to.

I simply sing, meditate, pray…

Sing, meditate and pray for us!

One day at a time…”

 
 
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THIS SONG IS FOR …

Deborah Ho-Chung

Everybody Hurts (by REM)

Performed by Msaki

 

“I’ve been struggling these past few days...

Struggling to stay focused.

Struggling to smile.

Struggling to remember the good things in my life.

It’s just way too easy to have a pity party I find.

And this frustrates me no end...

“You have so much to be thankful for”

I find myself saying over and over again.

“Look around you”

I say as I drive through a predominantly ‘Coloured’,

gang infested, drug soaked township on my way to work.

And it is exactly this dichotomy of my life that frustrates me.

The poverty and hopelessness I see around me

leaves me inspired to share my message of hope,

but it also drags me down into a dark pit of gloom and self-pity.

When I see boys as young as twelve smoke and drink behind a wall,

and little girls dance suggestively just a few meters away from them,

I know what the outcome is going to be.

And I pray for those little girls to be able to hold onto their innocence for just a few more years

just until someone...

a teacher... an older sister... or cousin...

comes along and tells them there is more to life.

More to life than smoking

and drinking

and boys

and dancing

and sex.

“The children don’t want to listen to us”

say my staff at work.

I share my story and that of my grandmother with them.

I’m doing what I can... where I can,

in the hope that they will share that message with their children.

But apparently pretty words can’t compete with the good feelings drugs and alcohol and sex provide.

And my frustration and impatience sends me tumbling into a deep dark vacuum.

What good was my suffering if I can’t help others lead a better life?

What purpose did it serve?”

 
 
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THIS SONG IS FOR …

FLOW

Everybody Hurts (by Solange)

Performed by Dope Saint Jude & BUJIN

“Death knocked on my door

He took away my innocence for sure

Death left me on the sewer floor

With a soul no more”

 
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THIS SONG IS FOR …

Gabriel Xavier

Black Hole Sun (by Soundgarden)

Performed by Nonku Phiri & Dion Monti

 

“It hurt, that is what I can say about what happened, it hurt emotionally and physically. It wasn’t something I understood at the time, nor did I understand it for a long time.

It was about 8 years ago, I was only 10. At that age, there are many things you don’t understand, you are still sheltered, secluded; a time for video games, cartoons and games. At that age you don’t really understand the weight behind things, innocence is still everything.

With an event of this significance, somehow you still think it is alright, and that it will all work out. Particularly when it is with someone you know, in your home, with your parents in the living room. Someone you trust, somewhere safe and protected by your parents.

I only understood the seriousness of all this when I was 15. Before that, at 13, we had learned about such things in a sex education class. But it was only when the teacher defined the word rape, that I felt as if I had been hit in the face. I can say that ‘everything went sort of dark’, and that is when the burden of it all really got to me. I was screaming inside, I ran to the bathroom and stayed there for an hour recalling what had happened.

I carried on denying it for a few years, pretending it hadn’t happened. I had never told anyone up until two years ago. There was a time when I doubted my own sanity, that it was all a figment of my imagination. That I was telling myself a lie.

But it truly happened.

It started with an invitation, for him to come and sleep over at my house, I was 10, he 15/16, what started out as a bit of fun, ended up being the trauma of my life.

The most difficult part was to face it, and the telling of it is incredibly difficult. I told my father: he threw in my face that it was a lie. I faced that relative: He said that it had never happened. As far as they were concerned, I didn’t know what I was talking about.

It is an emotional pain, much worse than physical pain, something you don’t know how to tell, something you try not to think about - you can’t bring yourself to talk about it.

What I can say is this: make yourself heard, face yourself, you know what happened and what goes on happening in the world, sadly.”

 
 
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THIS SONG IS FOR …

a woman who chooses to withhold her name

Uyesu Ulithemba Lam (Xhosa traditional hymn)

Performed by Msaki

“But I am praying, and I am very strong and God is

going to answer me one day… 

You must fight for life.”

 
 
 

This song is for... Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, Ukraine, 2019, Installation views, Photos by Maksim Belousov