I am because you were

Experimental Documentary Dance Film / Multimedia Installation | Germany | 2018 | 10 min. | Fashion Design, Direction, Editing: Pierre-Yves Dalka | Dancer: Duduzile Voigts | DOP: Stephan Wagner | Music: Evelyn Saylor | Master thesis for Universität der Künste Berlin (MA Fashion Design)


Motho ke motho ka batho.
A human is a human through other humans.

Do we hone our individual identities to those akin to us? Are our lives a mere continuation of the stories of those who preceded us? Are we destined to bear their burdens and atone for their wrongs? Or can we finally overcome a history of hurting and break free from the past without having to discard our ancestors and ancestresses as a whole?

“I am because you were” explores the complex cultural hybridity of human beings by focussing on the case of the German-South African dancer Duduzile Voigts and her family lineage. It is an exemplification of history-making: At times, we were able to source from an abundance of material archives and personal interviews; at others, the historical information on the characters we crafted was extremely scarce. In either case, our image of the past is pieced together through subjective interpretation and speculation. The history we so draw our personal identities from is rather a matter of malleable fiction than that of reliable fact.