Phillippa Yaa De Villiers

South African iconic author PHILLIPPA YAA DE VILLIERS

Beyond the Single Story

Phillippa as a young child.

Phillippa Yaa De Villiers is a South African poet and performance artist. She was born in 1966, at the height of apartheid, as a “mixed” baby. Her mother was black African from Ghana, and her father was white Australian.

Phillippa in the second row, third from the left, attending a predominantly white institution.

Phillippa was adopted by the physical anthropologist who examined her. She was identified as “Mediterranian” so no one would be suspicious of her true Mixed identity. In her one-woman show “Original Skin,” Phillippa describes her life story. She describes how her parents constantly denied she was “coloured” to suspecting neighbors, busdrivers, or passerbyers. Phillippa grew up believing she was monoracial white. However, she wrestled with experiences like being rejected from the “white” bus and being told to wait for the “coloured” bus on the first day of school.


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