Brilliant construction of the life of Bambi Kellerman, Evita Bezuidenhout's sister
– Caroline Smart, artSMart, 12 December 2011
Followers of Pieter-Dirk Uys, one of South Africa’s most creative minds, must surely
number in the millions. They will be familiar with his indomitable alter-ego, Evita
Bezuidenhout, who is widely acknowledged as the most famous white woman in South
Africa. They will also know of the exploits of Evita’s younger sister, Bambi, the
blonde Afrikaans meisie who married a Nazi and became a stripper in the fleshpots
Add to this threesome Ouma Ossewania Poggenpoel, the redoubtable mother of Evita
and Bambi, described by Pieter-Dirk Uys as still looking “like a throwback to the
Great Trek to the OK Bazaar sale in 1954.”
There’s a DNA history in this quartet somewhere!
Bambi’s first appearance — all of 45 seconds — was in 1985 in the film Skating on
Thin Uys. In 1990, she performed on stage in her own cabaret.
With considerable assistance from Pieter-Dirk Uys, Bambi has now revealed the details
of her licentious lifestyle which goes back to the days when she and Evita left the
Orange Free State to go Overseas in the company of their friend, Mimi, who was on
her way to work at the State Opera in Vienna.
Sex is part of Bambi’s make-up and her story is full of professional and personal
relationships of varying styles and timeframes as we follow her from her marriage
to the abusive ex-Nazi General, Joachim von Kellerman, until she returns to South
Africa where she finally sets up one of the most popular wineries in the Cape and
becomes free of the spectre of her hated husband.
To quote the press release: Never Too Naked is a “gloves-off, bra-down, knicker-torn,
pant-and-groan, blow-by-blow memoir of a sexual existence well-lived. Life with a
Capital F… From the dusty lanes of the Orange Free State, via the marzipan cobblestones
of Vienna, through the murky boudoir of Nazi nostalgia; stripping in Hamburg, naked
in London, pouting in Paris, ending up in Paarl - via Paraguay, Patagonia and hell
with a Capital H.”
There is a full photographic history including some of the people who became part
of Bambi’s life, such as opera singer Mimi Coertse (the one she went Overseas with),
Ava Gardner; Marlene Dietrich; Ernest Hemingway; Paraguay’s dictator General Stroessner
— even John F Kennedy and Chris Lombard, to name a few. And who do you think gave
the Beatles their early distinctive hairstyles?
To remind readers that there’s no love lost between Bambi and her elder sister, she
refers to Evita as “The Vampire.” The narrative is so real that you have to keep
reminding yourself that Bambi is a figment of imagination … but she’s certainly very
real in this book.
In the real world, 'acting' the eras of Bambi in this clever photoshopped album are
her friends in Darling. The book is a brilliant construction and a fascinating read
but probably not for those who are uncomfortable with explicit language!
Never Too Naked is published by Zebra Press ISBN 978 177 022 1789, and retails at
For a frank interview with Evita and Bambi, click here
Beyond camp's wilder shores
– Andrew Donaldson, Times Live, 18 October 2011
IF YOU READ ONE BOOK THIS WEEK
Never Too Naked, by Bambi Kellerman, with Pieter-Dirk Uys (Zebra Press) R200
AN OUTRAGEOUS, improbable trawl through the back alley gay bars, bedrooms, bordellos
and cabaret dives of the latter half of the 20th century as Bambi Kellerman — the
younger, sluttish sister of Evita Bezuidenhout — gets on her knees, unzips trouser
flies, and takes on the Cold War, Nazis, South American juntas, and apartheid, bumping
into Marilyn Monroe, the Beatles, Kurt Weill, Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich, Chris
Barnard, Nelson Mandela and others along the way. A warped scream beyond camp's wilder
shores, but fun.