Exploring South Africa

The one-woman show, exploring post-Apartheid South Africa, will be followed by a Q & A with the performer and a discussion on Fulbright scholarships.


By Barbara Melendez

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 15, 2012) – An insider view of today’s South Africa will be delivered via dance, poetry, narrative and song by Mandisa Roeleene Haarhoff in “Crush Hopper: Exploring the journey of identity in post-Apartheid South Africa,” Jan. 17, 5 p.m. at the University of South Florida School of Music Concert Hall. 


Remarks and dialogue with the writer and performer about her autobiographical work will follow at 6:30 p.m., led by Patrick S. De Walt, a researcher and instructor in the USF College of Education.  A “Global Fulbright Meet and Greet” from 7:15 to 8 p.m. concludes the evening.


“We hope this unique journey to South Africa will inspire everyone in attendance to think more seriously about studying abroad and applying for Fulbright scholarships. Then rather than have to wait to find out more, they can join us at the reception and actually start the process,” said Darlene DeMarie, associate professor of educational psychology, and a Fulbright Fellow.


The new executive director of the Fulbright Association, Stephen Reilly, will be on hand after taking office Jan. 2. In addition, Fulbright awardees drawn from USF faculty and students will showcase their work with exhibits and posters on table displays, and the USF offices that helped them write their Fulbright proposals will be available for consultation. Visiting Fulbright Scholars and visiting Fulbright students will also display artifacts from their home countries.  


USF President Judy Genshaft and former USF President Betty Castor are expected to be in attendance.



Registration is requested. Click here or visit http://global.usf.edu/crushhopper/regform.php.


A Fulbright Scholar herself, now working on her doctorate in film studies at the University of Florida, Haarhoff has a master’s degree in acting and choreography.  Her one-woman show won the Musho! International Theatre Festival Award on its debut in Durban, South Africa and the Standard Bank Ovation Award at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Africa’s largest arts and culture festival. This work explores her multicultural identity in South Africa as a Xhosa with a “colored” (mixed-race) great-grandfather and the ways her perception of race shaped the way she negotiates her relationships, hopping from one crush to another,.


Haarhoff has choreographed a number of dance works for the Jomba Contemporary Dance Festival in South Africa and has performed in a selection of plays including A Midsummer Nights’ Dream and Boesman and Lena. She directed a play for the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in 2009 and will be performing Crush Hopper at the Interdisciplinary Conference in Prague in May.


“We seek to critically engage both the cultural and racial similarities and differences found in the lived experience that Ms. Haarhoff’s performance highlights by using Cross’s Nigrescence theory,” said De Walt. “In using this framework, we hope to connect this narrative with the many narratives of African Americans/Blacks within a contemporary United States, as well as historically. In taking this approach, we embrace a key tenet of the Fulbright Program which includes the promotion of a cultural exchange.”

This performance of “Crush Hopper” will be recorded and posted on iTunes U for classes to use for discussions.


Sponsors of this event include the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, USF World, the Fulbright Association, the Colleges of Education and The Arts the Institute on Black Life and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.


Barbara Melendez can be reached at 813-974-4563.