Ukrainian and South African artists and activists call for action towards a just peace

Cape Town,  The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation together with the Ukrainian Association of South Africa and NGO Resilient Ukraine are marking the first year of the Russian war on Ukraine with a dance performance titled “We Stand For Freedom”.

This 30-minute contemporary dance performance, created by Ukrainian choreographer Kateryna Aloshyna, is a space for live dialogue between the dancers and audience members. It unpacks the similarities in the Ukrainian and South African fight for freedom. Via digital technologies, the audience makes choices that shape the outcome of the artistic conversation. The piece also explores the humanitarian crisis and the impact of the war on women and children, and how solidarity can lead to a safer world for all.  

“As young democracies, both South Africa and Ukraine share and retain a tangible connection to the idea of freedom and justice – ideals which we must never take for granted,” says Janet Jobson, CEO of the Tutu Legacy Foundation. She says, “The Arch reminded us often of the interconnectedness of all humanity – that ultimately our futures are fundamentally tied up in each other.”

“The art speaks simultaneously to the heads and hearts of every human.  In the ‘We Stand for Freedom’ performance, the dialogue is between Ukrainians and South Africans as well as between dancers and the audience. We hope that this dialogue will result in actions that defend human rights and the searching for and building of peace,” explains Kateryna Aloshyna.

The performance will explore four blocks:

the humanitarian crisis and the refugee children

the impact of war on women and families

the importance of freedom and the right to choose for societies, and

how supporting values of freedom, human rights and democracy by the  global community contributes to a safer society for all.

The opening night is a special, invitation-only evening, taking place on 23 February 2023. It includes a panel discussion following the performance, with participation from civil society representatives, and Janet Jobson (CEO of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation) and Kateryna Aloshyna (choreographer and president of the Ukrainian Association of South Africa).

Thereafter, the performance is open to the public, who can purchase tickets from Quicket

When: 24, 25 and 27 February 2023 at 17:00 and 19:00

Where: At the HCC Homecoming Centre (Corner Buitenkant St &, Caledon St, District Six, Cape Town, 8001)


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“When Russia contested the borders of a foreign sovereign country, it opened a Pandora’s Box,” says Nataliia Popovych, chairperson of NGO Resilient Ukraine. “The humanitarian consequences of such aggression are not confined to the millions of displaced people, or tens of thousands civilian deaths. They affect communities around the world and those most vulnerable suffer first. It is in the interest of both South Africans and Ukrainians to fight for the principles of democracy, which uphold the values of justice and human life.”

We Stand for Freedom is a joint effort between the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, the Ukrainian Association of South Africa and Resilient Ukraine.



Editors Notes:

Biographies of participants

The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation 

Founded in 2013, the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation represents one of the world’s most iconic leaders and his life-long partner. The Foundation strives to ensure their uncompromised bravery is celebrated, communicated and curated for posterity.


The Ukrainian Association of South Africa 

Ukrainian Association of South Africa (NPO 189-705) is a collaborative association registered in May 2017 that promotes networks between Ukrainians and South Africans for mutual development, increased awareness and inner growth of individuals and societies. For more information or [email protected]

Resilient Ukraine 

Resilient Ukraine is a civil society organisation dedicated to future-proofing Ukraine and the world by enabling it to contribute as an equal among democratic nations towards securing lasting peace in Ukraine, Europe and globally by countering Russian war propaganda and disinformation by raising awareness about the war and developing creative content and messaging that helps to unite and inform Ukraine’s citizens and allies around the world.

Kateryna Aloshyna, choreographer

Ukrainian choreographer, director and co-founder of the Contemporary Dance Laboratory Kateryna Aloshyna likes to discover this world through the lens of dance. Born in Ukraine, Kateryna was trained as a ballerina and received a degree in choreography. She has over 15 years of experience teaching ballet and contemporary dancing and  has spent the last five years in South Africa. Her recent works include:

“The Forest” interactive performance for children | 2021 South Africa

“Show me your Christmas” poetry and dance performance | 2019 South Africa

“FENCE” contemporary dance performance | 2019 South Africa, 2018 Ukraine

Cecil Etc, music composer

Cecil Etc is an artist based in Cape Town, South Africa. Born Deán de Klerk, he is classically trained but draws influences from all styles to create music that is eclectic, melodic, pensive and engaging.


Olwethu Sotiya 

Sotiya is a dancer, performer, member and artistic director of Is’Thatha Dance Project, based in Nyanga. The project is a community based NPO that strives to promote local art and culture, by creating opportunities for the local, disadvantaged community. It gives a chance to young local talent to evolve, and find their feet and grow in this difficult world.

Bianca Carmen Schulz Poblete

Dancer, performer and co-founder of a creative performing arts company based in Cape Town called [Em]bodied Creatives, Poblete is passionate about the performing arts and devising theatre. She has an interest in dance, movement, theatre creation, choreography, film/stage acting, voice over/ radio work, and physical theatre.

Beth McLachlan-Evans

MchLachlan-Evans is a professional freelance dance performer in Cape Town focused on creativity, artistry and interdisciplinary performance art.

Ockert Prins

Prins is a dancer and actor, with a range of collaborations with Jazzart Dance Theatre. He has performed at Baxter Theatre and the Soweto Theatre. He is also a hip hop dance teacher at the Rebirth Dance Company.

Costumes: Natalka Klymenko, Cape Town/Ukraine

Decoration (props) by Oleksii Kovalenko, Cape Town/Ukraine