Sullied Sears into Our Misogynistic Society

5 min read

To sully means to damage the purity or integrity of…..In Sullied, the seminal work from director Matjamela Motloung and choreographer Kristi-Leigh Gresse (Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for Dance 2021), movement and text give voice to what scholar Pumla Dineo Gqola calls South Africa’s “Female Fear Factory”: Rape. While the production comes to the Market Theatre during South Africa’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence; the work engages various paradigms of movement, thought, emotion, and spirituality to confront sexual violence.

Andiswa Gebashe, lands her sign-language performance skill in a first for South African theatre as no production before this has had a sign language performer not interpreting but being part of the cast, making this production accessible to a variety of patrons including the Deaf.

Violence to the female body at the hands of varied powerful social institutions forms part of the narrative ethos of Sullied, a daring work that utilizes dance, silence, spoken word and sign language to tell a story about the structures that inform the daily strife South African women face.

Sullied explores the themes of religion, body politics, racism, gender, sexuality, rape culture, and toxic masculinity in a politically charged country led by powerful male politicians. The purveyors of patriarchy are very present and succinct on some occasions and omnipresent on others. 

Rich in complex themes and how they feed into each other with roots in our daily lives, Sullied examines the psychological effects of patriarchal ideologies and misogyny. How our interactions with one another are a result of these ideologies. The piece focuses heavily on the concept of cleansing. Rather than washing away tangible dirt, it confronts the idea of washing away the dirt trapped away in our subconscious because of fear, emotional trauma, and ingrained social norms around women’s identity.

This production questions the structure of patriarchy and its systems used to justify its control and manipulation of women and their bodies. 

“The production interrogates the effects that patriarchal ideologies and misogyny has on the human psyche,” says Motloung.

“Specifically, the way these ideologies affect how we as human beings interact with one another.”

Age Recommendation: 13


Producer and Director                                             Matjamela Motloung

Choreographer                                                         Kristi-Leigh Gresse

Lighting Designer                                                     Hlomohang Mothetho

Sound Technician                                                   Ratanang Lekgau

Stage Manager                                                         Lebeisa Molapo


Choreographer and Dancer                                   Kristi-Leigh Gresse

Dancer                                                                    Sandile Mkhize

Actress                                                                   Fezeka Shandu

Actress                                                                   Nolwazi Ngcobo

Actress                                                                Andiswa Gebashe

Writer                                                                 Nomakhwezi Becker

Season:                                             Thursday 24 November – Sunday 11 December 2022

Venue:                                                The Mannie Manim   

Performance times:                          Tuesday – Saturday @19h00 and Sunday @15h00

Ticket prices:                                     Tuesday – Thursday R90

Friday – Saturday R150

Sunday – R130

To make block bookings and discounts please contact Anthony Ezeoke 011 832 1641 ext 203/ 083 246 4950 or Bandile Luvalo 078 4344 860 or

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