Hope Netshivhambe explores sexuality, religious tensions in explosive piece ‘Things Without Names’

Hope Netshivhambe. Picture: Supplied

Hope Netshivhambe. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 10, 2022


Celebrated poet and storyteller Hope Netshivhambe is staging her latest body of work titled “Things Without Names” for a limited season at the South African State Theatre.

Directed by Ipeleng Keamogetswe Matlhaku, the one-hander follows the life of Marubini, a young Christian woman grappling with the tensions of sexuality and religion.

The show is inspired by Netshivhambe’s own experiences and observation of the discomfort that occurs when issues of sexuality arise.

“I've seen first hand how the church resists going deeper than ‘just over the surface’ on this matter. There is a lot of harm and hate speech directed to non-heterosexual people,” says Netshivhambe.

Netshivhambe hopes this poetic piece will get people and groups to confront their “discomfort and consider the humanness of people different from them”, with kindness.

“These are real things that real people are facing, and this work is giving a name to these things, that for so long have gone without names because of avoidance, discomfort and a fractured belief that people are broken because of a specific sexual orientation.

Things Without Names” interrogates issues of sexuality and religion which remain in conflict with one another despite the shift in recent years.

“I think they conflict because of the discomfort people have with anything that looks different from what they've been taught to be in the "normal" way of life.

“There are layers in religion that encourage this conflict as well but none of it justifies the unkindness that has led so many to their death.

“No one needs to die because they are different, no one has to burn because they are different.

“I hope that people come out of this experience more compassionate, that it makes them aware of the humanness of people that are non-heterosexual, that they stop trying to take God away from queer people, that they stop killing us and making us want to kill ourselves.”

Netshivhambe's works have graced most prestigious festivals, locally and abroad.

Her recent stage production, “We Are Dying Here”, was performed at Artscape Theatre and Joburg Theatre to positive reception.

The production was also adapted into a short film and has been screened at numerous international film festivals.

Netshivhambe believes strongly in the power of words and that the world as we know it revolves around words.

The show opens at the South African State Theatre Thursday, February 10 and runs until Sunday, February 13.

Tickets are available at Webtickets for R80.

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