Pieter-Dirk Uys is arguably the most famous South African after President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. As a satirist he has gone a long way to heal much of the political divide, bringing lightness where there has been aggrieved anger, laughter where there has been irrational aggression, in a country torn apart by political insanity.
After many years as an actor, playwright and novelist Pieter-Dirk created the crossed-dressed character Evita Bezuidenhout, and took her across South Africa and then the world, receiving thunderous applause wherever he went. Tannie Evita, an immaculately groomed, stylish Afrikaans woman, sweet, softly spoken, almost coy in manner, rips the guts from politicians with an acerbic tongue which has audiences rolling with laugher… As the ambassadress of the fictitious Bantustan Bapetikosweti, he created an entrée into the political madhouse of South Africa; Dr. ‘Manto’ Tshabalala-Msimang and President Thabo Mbeki both experiencing his rage for their misguided leadership.
He has created innumerable shows with witty titles like You ANC Nothing Yet. As himself, Pieter-Dirk Uys, he did side-splitting impersonations of President PW Botha, while in after hours carried on a flirtatious correspondence with the Apartheid Minister of Foreign Affairs Pik Botha. Such is the bizarre world of Tannie Evita. In a television series Fanigalore , Evita interviewed numerous polititians; Mandela, charmed and respectful of the Afrikaans tannie beside him, gave appreciation of the political contribution made by Onse Evita.
When Mandela finally came to power, Pieter-Dirk let Evita take a rest and let her re-emerge as an HIV/AIDS activist and educationalist, going to schools and speaking to millions of adolescents about safe sex.
Pieter-Dirk Uys is a phenomenon, his interview as always, is insightful and amusing.
“…And be original or else quite frankly you’re in a long queue of copies… don’t want a copy. Sophia was not a copy, Mandela was not a copy…”
pics by Stefan Hurter