Performance 2: PROOF

Maureen de Jager

‘PROOF’ is a soliloquy, which extends and develops the themes explored in the solo exhibition ‘History [TBC]: Refocusing the South African War’ (see Council Chamber). As with the other works on exhibition, the soliloquy focuses a contemporary lens on the South African War (or Anglo-Boer War) of 1899-1902, situating it within present-day decolonising South Africa and a legacy of history-writing marred by erasure and exclusion.

Cast: The Author-self.
Artefact: Serendipitous encounters in the Archives (a personal narrative of belonging).

Performance notes: Macro-lens photographs of the word ‘mortality’ (which were taken with the aid of an unwitting accomplice) wipe across the projection screen, as the Author-Self reflects on the precariousness of being ‘at home’ in a context marred by unresolved trauma. The soliloquy was written in October 2016, while the Fees Must Fall protests were happening at Rhodes University (where the Author-Self lectures). Police were firing stun grenades at the protestors, over the stone wall adjacent to her office. Her research into an ‘old’ war (and its imperialist underpinnings) acquired a whole new meaning; and she wrote from the perspective of the precarious present.

  • Ticket Price: R40.00
  • Genre: Talk
  • Duration (minutes): 20mins
  • Release Date: July 15, 2021 15:00 - July 31, 2021 23:59
  • Language: English



Maureen de Jager is an artist-researcher, with a practice-based PhD in Fine Art (Kingston University, London). As an avid maker of objects and writer of performative texts, De Jager has a particular interest in the spaces where text and object mesh. Her creative practice – which encompasses archival research, book arts, sculpture and installation, performance-lectures, and writing-as-praxis –often reflects on South Africa’s traumatic histories as sites of erasure and uncertainty. Her recent focus is on the South African War of 1899-1902, in regards to its imperialist underpinnings, its subsequent mythologies, and its residues and traces in a decolonising South Africa. De Jager has exhibited and presented her creative practice both locally and abroad (Stockholm, Paris, Cambridge and London), and her work is held in various collections (including Washington University Library). Her PhD exhibition was hosted by the prestigious UK National Archives in June 2019; and she has contributed solo exhibitions to the National Arts Festival on four occasions (2002 Fringe, 2006 Fringe, 2008 Main and 2012 Main). De Jager holds the post of Associate Professor at Rhodes University, where she currently serves as Head of the Fine Art Department, as well as Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Humanities.