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, Desperate First Ladies and An Audience with Pieter-Dirk Uys 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 (1985); 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 (1996); and The Great Comedy Trek (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, Uys’s novel Trekking to Teema was South Africa’s
first internet book in 2000, before being published in tree-format. His second novel,
Panorama, was published by Missing Ink in 2013. 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 interviewed the new democratic
government’s leaders, including Nelson Mandela. His (and Evita’s) cookbook, Evita’s
Kossie Sikelela (2010), became a bestseller and was followed in 2012 by a second
cookbook, Evita’s Bossie Sikelela. Uys has also written two memoirs, Elections and
Erections (2003) Between the Devil and the Deep (2005), as well as the ‘autobiography’
of Evita’s younger sister, Bambi Kellermann, Never too Naked (2011).
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 Literature honoris 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; in 2012 he received both the
FW de Klerk Goodwill Award and the German-Africa Award; and in 2016 received the
ACT (Arts & Culture Trust) Theatre Lifetime Achievement 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 F.A.K. Songs and Other Struggle Anthems (2010), a cabaret
revue featuring Bambi Kellermann with her Bokkie Band, and 50 Shades of Bambi (2013),
both for the Fugard Theatre, Cape Town; extended seasons of Adapt or Fly (2012),
An Audience with Pieter-DirkEISH! (2013), The Echo of a Noise (2016) and Evita Bezuidenhout
and the Kaktus of Separate Development (2017) in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town;
and a two-week run of An Audience with Pieter-Dirk Uys at London’s Soho Theatre in
2014. In 2009, Uys directed Macbeki, his first new play since 2003, at the Market
Theatre, Johannesburg. His next play, The Merry Wives of Zuma, was premiered in
2012, and his most recent play, African Times, in 2015.
In 2015, Pieter-Dirk Uys turned 70. To celebrate, a new collection of his Afrikaans
plays, Stukke Teater, was published by Human & Rousseau, and he was 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.
Uys is the subject of two award-winning documentaries. The first, Darling! The
Pieter-Dirk Uys Story (2007) (https://pdudarlingmovie.wordpress.com/), directed by
New Zealander Julian Shaw, is about Uys’s Aids-awareness presentations. The second,
Nobody’s Died Laughing: A Journey with Pieter-Dirk Uys (2016), directed by Willem
Oelofsen, follows the peripatetic Uys for most of 2015. Both DVDs, as well as a wide
range of Pieter-Dirk Uys’s books, plays and other DVDs, are sold in Evita’s A and
C at the Perron.
Evita se Perron, Pieter-Dirk Uys’s cabaret theatre and restaurant in Darling, where
he lives, celebrates its 22nd year in 2018. The venue, which Uys converted from the
old Darling railway station, isfamous 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.