Uys dons false eyelashes and presidents listen. Los Aangeles Times
In 1981 a woman appeared out of the dressing room of the Market Theatre, stepped
onto the stage and smiled. Before she even gave her name she was a legend. Mrs Evita
Bezuidenhout was presented to the audience, the nation and the world. She is still
going stronger than ever. No longer a recognised Nationalist, as she was during those
years of apartheid rule, she is now a member of the African National Congress, secure
in her Luthuli House kitchen where she cooks for reconciliation. For nearly forty
years she has had to tolerate the impersonation of her by a local comedian. She tried
to sue him for libel; she swore never to allow him into her life and yet, now in
the 25th year of her democracy, she will be on the stage with Pieter-Dirk Uys at
the same time.
The question to PDU was always: Why this female character of Evita? There are many
answers. When he started impersonating her in 1978, it was illegal to have an opinion
about anything political, so maybe an Afrikaans woman with an NP husband could spill
the beans. The fact that she was portrayed by a man dressed as a woman, when crossdressing
was also illegal, could force the edge of the envelope. Or maybe that she was there
for only one reason: to eventually make Nelson Mandela laugh. And she did. They met
and he laughed. She also embraced Archbishop Desmond Tutu who also laughed. She posed
with countless legends and South Africans, black and white, laughed — with relief.
Evita Bezuidenhout will always be ten years older than Pieter-Dirk Uys. He seems
to be catching up. His Darling venue, Evita se Perron, has been going for twenty-two
years, established as a recognised international tourist destination and local satirical
Stonehenge. Who would have thought that Tannie Evita would become a farce to be reckoned
with, to be hailed and celebrated as the most famous white woman in South Africa?
And now as a member of the ANC, sharing her weekly comments on YouTube and Daily
Maverick about the state of her nation, where her Evita's Free Speech has gathered
supporters from all the corners of the globe? Her 140,000 Twitter followers are not
just, as she thinks, in the same prison outside Rustenburg.
Now in 2019, for the first time, she and her ageing impersonator will confront each
other face to face.
There can only be one winner.
#HeTwo will be performed in Johannesburg at Pieter Toerien's Montecasino Theatre
from 31 July to 18 August (Book at Computicket) and in Cape Town at Theatre on the
Bay from 27 August to 14 September (Book at Computicket or theatre)