The Exuberance Project
11-13 May 2012, UCT Hiddingh Campus
Symposium | Performances | Exhibitions | Film screenings

Convened by Raél Jero Salley and Jay Pather; presented by the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) as part of the UCT Africa Month celebrations.

The Exuberance Project will investigate what is abundant, enthusiastic, overflowing, unrestrained and joyful in contemporary creative and performing arts of Africa.

Africa has long been described by critics as being perched on a threshold – between inadequacy and potential, between something and nothingness. The vast complexity of a continent is thereby reduced, frozen by clichéd metaphors and paradoxical summations. Such large, elusive and unhappy representations work to shape individual imaginaries and bound collective sensibilities. That is to say, if African creative practices have long been framed by fractured identifications, shadowed by humiliation, or overexposed as hyper-visible depravity, how can creative people both acknowledge legacies of oppression and produce without recapitulating pathologies? Indeed, critics and artists have, in diverse and particular ways, responded to pessimistic representations that continually appear in intellectual, political and aesthetic realms.

The Exuberance Project points to a welcome turnaround in the enactment of all that emerges from the African continent. Embracing themes that shift from lack to abundance, from Afro-pessimism to exuberance, from myths of a dark and brooding continent to vibrant, dynamic realism, The Exuberance Projectcomprises a symposium, panel discussions, performances, exhibitions and film screenings.

Salley explains:  “Exuberance is an abounding, ebullient, effervescent emotion. But it is also a shining, flickering, fragile state”. He notes that despair has found more sympathy with artists and scholars than has joy, so the world Africans occupy is seen and described by a view that is relentlessly grim. Africa and its people fare poorly in representations from global media, academic scholarship, and creative production. The Exuberance Project hopes to encourage different views, generate new energy and opportunities, while alerting us all to change and possibility. “The Exuberance Project endeavors to enchant its public so we can make better sense of the complex effervescence of Southern Africa’s places and spaces, ideas and passions.” Salley commented.

The weekend long conference is packed with speakers from various parts of the country, performances, exhibitions and film screenings.

Please consult website for daily updates.

For more information on the award-winning performancesspeakersexhibitions and film screenings featured at The Exuberance Project, visit the News section of this website. The Exuberance Project Exhibition at Mandela Rhodes Gallery will be open Sunday 13 May through Sunday 20 May.


R150 – includes all sessions, performances and film screenings, the opening cocktail function and teas, transport to the Fugard Theatre, exhibition opening, walking tour and party.
R100 – Friday 11 May
R50 – Saturday 12 May
R50 – Sunday 13 May

R100 – includes all sessions, performances and film screenings, the opening cocktail function and teas, transport to the Fugard Theatre, exhibition opening, walking tour and party.
R75 – Friday 11 May
R30 – Saturday 12 May
R30 – Sunday 13 May

Bookings and ticket sales through Computicket.

Exuberance Project – Full programme is available for download.

Updated programme available here.

Exuberance Project audio recordings:

Official opening and addresses – Thandabantu Nhlapo, Raél Jero Salley and Sindiwe Magona audio recording

Panel 1: Abundance audio recording

Panel 2: (Over)abundance audio recording

Panel 3: Euphoria audio recording

Panel 4: Affinities audio recording

Closing comments audio recording

The Exuberance Project video recordings 

Start: 11 May ’12

End: 13 May ’12


Organizer: GIPCA


Venue: Hiddingh Hall 

Phone: +27 21 480 7156 

Address: Google Map UCT Hiddingh Campus, 31 Orange Street, Cape Town, 8001