Since the 1960s, Pieter-Dirk Uys has been poking fun at the country’s past while
finding hilarious ways to ensure it progresses positively.
The satirist, performer, author and social activist was recognised for his ample
contributions to the arts at the 19th annual ACT Awards.
Sponsored by DALRO, this Theatre Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon Uys
at the glittering Sophiatown-themed Awards ceremony at Sun International’s The Maslow
Hotel in Johannesburg.
“As an organisation that prides itself on protecting the rights and copyright of
artists, playwrights and authors, DALRO is proud to sponsor an award that bestows
such a distinguished honour on South African artists who have spent their lives contributing
to our nation's extensive cannon of theatrical work. It is through the work of such
profound artists that South Africans can engage with a high calibre of artistry for
generations to come,” says DALRO.
And Uys certainly is such an artist. 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.
Over the years Uys, and his celebrated character Evita Bezuidenhout, have received
a bevy of Awards for both their theatrical work and their humanitarian efforts. 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)
and the University of the Witwatersrand (D.Litt.Hon. 2004). While 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 the FW de Klerk Goodwill Award.
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, and Elections
& Erections have been presented in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, Holland,
Switzerland, Australia, the USA and Canada.
Recent successes include Desperate First Ladies and F.A.K. Songs and Other Struggle
Anthems, which he has presented throughout South Africa and toured to Berlin, Holland
and London. During 2012, Uys launched his latest one-man onslaught, Adapt or Fly,
throughout South Africa and later toured it to Namibia, while in 2013 he added An
Audience with Pieter-Dirk EISH! to his repertoire, and premiered a new Bambi Kellermann
cabaret, 50 Shades of Bambi, at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town.
Also an accomplished author in a variety of genres, Uys’ 2000 novel, Trekking to
Teema, was South Africa’s first e-book, before being published as a hard copy. He
has also written Evita Bezuidenhout’s biography, A Part Hate A Part Love, as well
as a book based on his 12-part 1994 MNet television series, Funigalore, in which
Evita Bezuidenhout, interviewed the new democratic government’s leaders, including
Since 2000, 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 show 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!, which tackle the fears surrounding testing for HIV.
Uys believes that without art the world would be a very different place. “Art is
the oxygen; culture is the calcium,” he says, “without them any society would be
without breath or movement.”
DALRO echoes this; “It is through the arts that our communities can actively engage
with our heritage, identities and the myriad cultures that make up our diverse nation.
The arts remain the most evocative, spiritual and personal way we as South Africans
tackle ideas, conflict and change.”
Always up for a challenge, Uys believes that the highlight of his career is “survival
in spite of all the pitfalls and dongas of life”. He believes that failure is essential
to success; “without them, there is no eventual award,” he concludes.
The 19th annual ACT Awards was hosted by Sun International in association with the
National Lotteries Commission (NLC) and is supported by the Southern African Music
Rights Organisation (SAMRO), the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation
(DALRO), Media24 Books, the Nedbank Arts Affinity, JTI, Creative Feel, Business and
Arts South Africa (BASA) and the Distell Foundation.
For more information about the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) please visit www.act.org.za.
About the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT)
The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) is South Africa’s premier independent arts funding
and development agency. The primary aim of ACT is to increase the amount of funding
available for arts and culture initiatives, and to apply these funds to innovative,
sustainable projects that make a meaningful contribution to society. Through structured
funding and development programmes, ACT provides support for all expressions of arts
and culture, including literature, music, visual art, theatre and dance, and the
support extends to festivals, community arts initiatives, arts management, arts education
and arts administration. Follow ACT on Twitter or like the Trust’s Facebook page
or visit the ACT website.
About the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Organisation (DALRO)
DALRO is a multi-purpose copyright society that collects royalties for the use of
copyright-protected works on behalf of authors and publishers, which it then distributes
back to the correct copyright-owner. As a custodian of copyright and the protection
of rightsholders’ works, DALRO’s main areas of administration are reprographic reproduction
rights (photocopying from published editions), public performance rights (including
stage rights for book musicals and dramas) and reproduction rights (whether for publishing
or copying) in works of visual art. For more information, please visit www.dalro.co.za.