Uncovering a Love of Self: Individuality and Coloured Identity in Ntokozo Madlala and Mandisa Haarhoff’s Crush-hopper

J. Coplen Rose


Ntokozo Madlala and Mandisa Haarhoff’s Crush-hopper (2011) explores the challenges that historically oppressed South Africans face when attempting to define themselves outside, or beyond, the racial categories imposed by the former apartheid state. Although apartheid laws that arbitrarily divided citizens into distinct racial categories ended with the creation of a legal system “committed to non-racialism” at independence, in many instances people continue to feel trapped by past definitions of race (Desai and Vahed 1). Pallavi Rastogi asserts this crisis is especially felt by ethnic minorities such as South African Indians, some of whom feel the decolonizing state is “still predicated along the black and white binary” that was entrenched during apartheid (550). Exploring the impact that this racial polarity has had on a citizen of mixed heritage raised outside of apartheid’s temporal limits, Crush-hopper illustrates the multiple ways that racial hierarchies imposed on marginal communities during colonization continue to cause trauma and a fractured sense of identity after the nation’s transition to a democratic state.


Identity, South Africa, coloured, born-free, drama, theatre, othering

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