Performance 3: IN PARENTHESIS

‘IN PARENTHESIS’ is a performance-recital, 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 performance-recital 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-Reader.
Performance notes: An abridged reading of Thomas Pakenham’s ‘THE BOER WAR’ (1979). The Author-Reader faces the screen, her back to the audience. She begins to read, addressing her voice to the screen as if in a private recital. She advances the slides and reads. It soon becomes apparent that the slides depict the pages of a book subjected to radical erasure. Sporadic words and phrases dot the yellowed spreads (like islands in a mute, insipid sea). As the ‘logic’ of erasure becomes apparent – each ‘island’ of text is constrained by brackets, by the arcs of opening and closing parentheses – so does the ‘logic’ of the recital. It is a reading-aloud of Pakenham’s parentheses, of a history ‘abridged’ of primary content. All that remains is a litany of asides.

  • Ticket Price: R40.00
  • Genre: Talk
  • Duration (minutes): 30mins
  • Release Date: July 15, 2021 16:00 - 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.