Julian Hetzel & Ntando Cele


Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands

Climate change and utopia

Tue 06/11/24 | 8:00–9:30 pm Tickets
Wed 06/12/24 | 8:00–9:30 pm Tickets

The performance on June 11th will be followed by an audience discussion. The performances are in English with German surtitles. 

SPAfrica is a performance about empathy and extractivism. A project that explores how capitalism and racism and the predatory treatment of nature are intertwined.

Together, Julian Hetzlen and Ntando Cele explore the limits of empathy – the ability to understand or feel what another person is experiencing. What if empathy does not change or overcome power struggles, but reinforces existing privileges? SPAfrica uncovers the problematic mechanism and the hidden racism behind it.

SPAfrica introduces a double gesture to gain "liquid empathy" and builds on the exchange of resources between Europe and Africa – water for tears and tears for water. On the one hand, drinking water is imported to Europe from the regions south of the Sahara: SPAfrica – the world's first "empathy drink". On the other hand, tears are cultivated in the heart of Europe and brought to the water source in Africa. The project juxtaposes the exploitation of natural and emotional resources and exposes neoliberal strategies in the search for alternative raw materials.

In their new work, Hetzel and Cele question how immaterial goods are capitalized. In the international art market, the cultural background and identity of the protagonists have become valuable resources for value creation. Is trauma the new gold of art? 

"(...) it is as much a part of the works of Julian Hetzle, a performance maker who mainly produces in the Netherlands, as it is of those of Ntando Cele, who was born in South Africa and lives in Switzerland, that they draw the audience into a turmoil of highly ambivalent feelings and disparate emotions."

- Theresa Schütz, Theater der Zeit 

Tickets | E-WERK | Saal

Concept Julian Hetzel & Ntando Cele 
Director Julian Hetzel 
Performance Ntando Cele 
Dramaturgy Miguel A. Melgares
Artistic advice Miguel A. Melgares
Music & Composition Frank Wienk
Lighting design Nico de Rooij
Technical coordination Vincent Beune, Aengus Havinga
Technique Tom Doeven, Simon Kelaita, Bea Verbeek, Wout Jansen
Technical solutions Merijn Versnel, Guido Bevers
Production management Marieke van den Bosch
Production Cape Town Lungile Mbongwa
Gallery Manager Cape Town Mpilo Ngcukana
Production assistant Jana Riese
Assistant Costume Design Merel van Erpers Roijaards
Make-up Carly Heathcote, Julia Markow
Props Saskia Hartog
Video documentation Reynold Reynolds, Bongeka Ngcobo
Video performer Revé Terborg
Photography Alexandra Masmanidi, Anouk Maupu