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This is a poignant short film about Maria, a domestic servant in the Free State who is trapped in an endless cycle of cooking, cleaning, and ironing, just like her mother. She is employed by an endlessly demanding boss. Cleanses’ exploration of the power relationship has relevance beyond South Africa; so historical and entrenched is the power relationship that is taken as the norm. The symbolism of water as a cleansing and redemptive agent gives Maria an escape from her intolerable situation. The symbolism imbues the film with a poetic quality, despite the obvious injustices that abound.


Patrick Peni


Jane Mpholo

Production Design

Phillimon Mehlape


Jane Mpholo, Beauty Molokoti, Nico Taljaard, Mosa Keketsi


“Water flows through this work with acuity and venom, danger and a sense of the benign, as it paints a portrait of self-care, body fluids, love and hate, that skirts on the brink of the metaphorical as it flows through the detritus of apartheid history, without becoming preachy or obvious.” Robyn Sassen

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