Archived 2002 Articles about  Pieter-Dirk Uys

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Talk about sex and laugh in the face of fear

– Margaret von Klemperer, The Witness, 14 March 2002

Pietermaritzburg — Secrecy about sex is killing us. South Africans must talk about their fears — and manage them through laughter. This was the message from Pieter-Dirk Uys on Wednesday, in KZN to talk to schools about HIV/Aids.He will also give one public performance of Foreign Aids, his satirical show on the politics surrounding the virus, at the Hexagon on Thursday.

Uys is visiting three or four schools a day to give his hour-long talk on sex, abuse, the right to say no, the HIV/Aids crisis and the need for awareness and safe sex. But this is no dry facts-of-life lecture. It is lively and funny, includes a lightning visit from Evita Bezuidenhout, and is getting an enthusiastic reception from local school pupils.

"They make me feel 16 and I make them feel 24," says Uys, explaining how he hits the right note for an adolescent audience. And whether he is in the sophisticated comfort of the Hilton College Theatre or in a township school where the audience sits on the floor, he gets his message across.

Uys would like to see other role models following his lead in talking about sex.

"Bafana Bafana should be doing this; Archbishop Tutu — a wonderful man — does it and Mandela is beginning to, but it's not enough."He tells how the Minister of Health came to a talk and told him she wished there were more of him. "Thank God there aren't more of you," was his response, at which she just laughed. Despite all his years as a satirist, he still finds politicians unbelievable, making it hard for him to maintain the necessary blend of 49% anger to 51% humour.

Uys's school programme is free. On Saturdays and Sundays he gives public performances at his home in Darling; on Mondays he does the same in Cape Town, raising money to fund the rest of the week on the road, going from school to school with his message.

At the top of his profession, Uys could pick and choose where he performs — and charge accordingly. But he is happy to be delivering the message he so passionately believes South Africa's youth must hear.

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