Pieter-Dirk Uys was born in Cape Town in 1945 and has been in the theatre since the
mid-1960s. Closely associated with both the Space Theatre in Cape Town and Johannesburg's
Market Theatre during the 1970s and 1980s, he has written and performed 20 plays
and over 30 revues and one-man shows throughout South Africa and abroad.
His plays Paradise is Closing Down, Panorama, God's Forgotten, Auditioning Angels,
Faces in the Wall and Just Like Home have been performed internationally, and his
one-man shows Adapt or Dye, One Man One Volt, You ANC Nothing Yet, Truth Omissions,
Live from Boerassic Park, Dekaffirnated, Foreign Aids, Evita for President, Elections
& Erections and Desperate First Ladies have been presented in the United Kingdom,
Denmark, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Australia, the USA and Canada. His performance
of Foreign Aids at La Mama received the Obie Award in New York in 2004.
Pieter-Dirk Uys has been doing this sort of thing for so long that people now refer
to it as a career. Officially unemployed since the early 1970s, he writes, directs,
acts, produces and does everything else, including the making of dresses and the
wearing of them! Having survived the mediocrity of apartheid kultuur, it is his
therapy and his joy to expose the bones of that dinosaur for the entertainment of
democratic audiences worldwide. He is delighted to still have a government that
on a daily basis writes his best material!
Most of Uys’s satirical work was available in South Africa on video (and still is,
on DVD) and so, in spite of government censorship during apartheid, he built up a
very large multiracial audience. Members of the present democratic parliament remember
seeing his videos while in exile and in prison! He has been seen on SABC since the
late 1970s in a variety of programmes, including An Uys up my Sleeve; One Man One
Volt, which was to be screened prior to the 1994 election, but was held back for
ten months; You ANC Nothing Yet in 1996; and The Great Comedy Trek in 2004. The
series Going Down Gorgeous, featuring Nowell Fine in a saga from 1976 to 2004, was
screened towards the end of the last century. Foreign Aids has been broadcast for
Aids Day, 1 December, and in 2007 SABC2 presented Dinner with the President, a 13-part
talk show hosted by Evita Bezuidenhout. Ten of Uys’s shows are currently available
A prolific writer in many genres, his novel, Trekking to Teema, was South Africa’s
first internet book in 2000, before being published in tree-format. He has also
written Evita Bezuidenhout’s biography, A Part Hate A Part Love, as well as a book
based on his12-part 1994 MNET television series, Funigalore, in which Evita Bezuidenhout,
his most famous creation, interviewed the new democratic government’s leaders, including
Nelson Mandela. In 2003, Uys premiered a new play, Auditioning Angels, and published
his first volume of memoirs, Elections and Erections. A second volume of memoirs,
Between the Devil and the Deep, became a bestseller throughout South Africa in 2005.
Both of Uys’s memoirs are now available as eBooks, as is his ‘autobiography’ of Evita’s
younger sister, Bambi Kellermann, Never too Naked. Uys’s biography of Evita Bezuidenhout,
A Part Hate A Part Love, long out of print, was released as an eBook in 2012. His
novel, Panorama, published by Missing Ink in 2013, is also available as an eBook.
Pieter-Dirk Uys was awarded South Africa's prestigious Truth and Reconciliation Award
in 2001. He has received honorary degrees from Rhodes University (D.Litt.Hon. 1997),
the University of Cape Town (D.Litt.Hon. 2003), the University of the Western Cape
(D.Edu.Hon. 2003), the University of the Witwatersrand (D.Litt.Hon. 2004) and University
of Kwazulu Natal (Doctor of Literaturehonoris causa 2014). As well, Pieter-Dirk
Uys's celebrated alter-ego, Evita Bezuidenhout, proudly received the Living Legacy
2000 Award in San Diego, USA. In 2011 Uys was honoured with a lifetime achievement
Teddy award at the Berlin International Film Festival, and in 2012 he received both
the FW de Klerk Goodwill Award and the German-Africa Award.
Since 2000 Pieter-Dirk Uys has been travelling around South Africa, visiting over
1.5 million school children, as well as prisons and reformatories, with a free AIDS-awareness
entertainment called For Facts Sake!. He has also released a corporate AIDS-information
video, Having Sex with Pieter-Dirk Uys, as well as the family-friendly video, Survival
Aids, and Just a Small Prick!, a treatment of the fears surrounding testing for HIV.
Recent successes include Evita for President, Elections & Erections,Desperate First
Ladies, and F.A.K. Songs and Other Struggle Anthems, a cabaret revue featuring Bambi
Kellermann with her Bokkie Band. During 2012 Uys launched his latest one-man onslaught,
Adapt or Fly, throughout South Africa, with extended seasons in Durban, Johannesburg
and Cape Town, and later toured it to Namibia, while in 2013 he added An Audience
with Pieter-DirkEISH! to his repertoire, and premiered a new Bambi Kellermann cabaret,
50 Shades of Bambi, at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town. Highlights of 2014 included
sold-out seasons of Adapt or Fly in Cape Town and Johannesburg and a two-week run
of An Audience with Pieter-Dirk Uys at London’s Soho Theatre.
In April 2009, Uys directed Macbeki, his first new play since 2003, at the Market
Theatre, Johannesburg. His next new play, The Merry Wives of Zuma, was premiered
in late 2012.
In 2010 Uys published a cookbook, Evita’s Kossie Sikelela, which was followed in
2011 by Evita’s Blackbessie, her diary-journal and back-up for cellphone information,
as well as the autobiography of Evita’s younger sister, Bambi Kellermann, Never too
Naked. A second cookbook, Evita’s Bossie Sikelela, appeared in 2012, and Uys’s novel,
Panorama, was published in 2013.
Darling! The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story (http://pdudarlingmovie.wordpress.com/), a documentary
about Uys’s Aids-awareness presentations, directed by New Zealander Julian Shaw,
is being shown worldwide. This DVD, as well as a wide range of Pieter-Dirk Uys’s
books, plays and other DVDs, is sold in Evita’s A and C at the Perron.
In 2015, Pieter-Dirk Uys turned 70. To celebrate, a new collection of his Afrikaans
plays, Stukke Teater, was published by Human & Rousseau; his newest play, African
Times, had its premiere at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown; and Die van
Aardes van Grootoor: The Musical – a reworking of Uys’s epic boeredrama, with music
composed by Godfrey Johnson – received its world premiere at Theatre on the Bay in
Cape Town. Chosen as the National Arts Festival’s first Arts Icon, Uys performed
three special solo shows during the 2015 festival: A Part Hate A Part Love (featuring
Evita Bezuidenhout); Never Too Naked (featuring Bambi Kellermann); and The Echo of
a Noise. In honour of Evita Bezuidenhout’s 80th birthday, Kyknet presented a birthday
special, Kyknet vir Tannie, produced by Evita’s former secretary, Bokkie Bam (Lizz
Meiring), with greetings from Evita’s far-flung family, and interviews hosted by
Coenie de Villiers.
In 2016, EVITA SE PERRON, Pieter-Dirk Uys’s cabaret theatre and restaurant in Darling,
where he lives, will celebrate its 20th anniversary. The venue, which Uys converted
from the old Darling railway station, is famous for its satirical garden, Boerassic
Park, and is the domain of Evita Bezuidenhout, the 'most famous white woman in South
Africa'. The unique museum/nauseum of apartheid artifacts there, reflecting the madness
of the past, is arguably the only satirical exhibition of South Africa’s recent past.
The Evita se Perron channel on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/EvitaSePerron)
hosts Evita’s Free Speech, a weekly feature on the state of the nation and the world.