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“Pieces of Me”

March 6 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Images of identification document showing South African racial classifications; an apartheid-era sign designating an area as "whites-only"; and a young couple walking hand-in-hand, smiling. Pieces of Me an autobiographical play written & performed by Bo Petersen free & open to the public talback & reception to follow 7PM | Wed, March 6 Ahmadieh Family Conference Room 101 West Duke Building

Join the Kenan Institute for Ethics and the Center for Documentary Studies for a performance of “Pieces of Me,” an autobiographical play about the costs of living secretly as a mixed-race family during apartheid, written and performed by South African actor Bo Petersen.

A talkback with Petersen and 2024 Kenan Graduate Arts Fellow Natasha Lehner will follow the hourlong performance, as well as a reception.

This event is free and open to the public. Please note that this event space is intimate, and seating is first come, first served. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and the performance will begin shortly after 7 p.m.

About the play:

“Pieces of Me” is an autobiographical play that exposes the devastating emotional cost of living secretly as a mixed-race family under the vicious racist apartheid regime and the legacy it bore.

Petersen’s father, Benjamin Johannes Petersen, who was also known as Benny, made a fateful decision in 1944 that would change his life forever. Until then, he and his close-knit family were classified by the South African Government as “Colored.” A Colored person was a person of mixed European (“white”) and African (“black”) or Asian ancestry, as officially defined by the South African government from 1950 to 1991.

After meeting and falling in love with Bo’s mother, who was white, he decided to pass as white. They had five children and were happily married for 62 years. They lived as a white family.

He never told his wife or any of his children about his true identity. It was a secret that, if uncovered, would have had dire consequences for all of them. Benny could have faced 10 years’ imprisonment, his marriage would have been annulled and his children taken away, reclassified and made wards of the State.

“Pieces of Me” explores how Bo’s father’s torturous decision to pass as white has shaped her life. The play captures universal themes of exclusion, threat, and silences experienced by marginalized people throughout the world.

“Pieces of Me” is Bo’s renegotiation.

More information about “Pieces of Me” is available on Bo Petersen’s website.

Getting here:

After arriving on Duke University’s East Campus through its main entrance on Main St., the West Duke Building is the first building on the left. Parking is available along Campus Drive. If you have any accessibility concerns, please contact Hillary Train at hillary.train@duke.edu.


March 6
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Ahmadieh Family Conference Room (101 West Duke Building)
1364 Campus Dr
Durham, NC 27708 United States
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