Senzeni Marasela, Waiting for Gebane, 2016, Watercolour, 60 x 42 cm / 24 x 17 in, Courtesy AFRONOVA GALLERY
Senzeni Marasela, Waiting for Gebane, 2016, Watercolour, 60 x 42 cm / 24 x 17 in, Courtesy AFRONOVA GALLERY 

Senzeni Marasela’s work predominately revolves around women’s experiences of waiting, either by obligation or by resolve. In 2003, she started a project titled Theodorah comes to Johannesburg, a durational performance based on her mother Theodorah’s stories about travels from the rural area of Mvenyane to Johannesburg: a journey of 11 hours. Like many young black women in the city, Marasela’s mother was traumatized by events that took place in apartheid-South Africa during the 1960s. The story of Theodorah never left Marasela’s work and has been incorporated into her state of ‘perpetual performance’. In the context of migration and familial displacement, Marasela’s performances strike a political, and deeply affective tone. In 2013, Ijeremani Lam, Marasela’s alter ego comes to life again. Guided by Njabulo Ndebele’s book, The Cry of Winnie Mandela (2003), Theodorah travels to Johannesburg, in search of her husband, Gebane Mthetyane. Senzeni Marasela’s work — in media including embroidery, print, and video as well as performance — has been widely exhibited in South Africa, Europe, and the US.