ABOUT PIETER-DIRK

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, 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, and Foreign Aids have been presented in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, Holland, 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 write 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; 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 in 1996; and The Great Comedy Trek in 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. Eight of Uys’s shows are currently available on DVD.

A prolific writer in many genres, his novel, Trekking to Teema, was South Africa’s first internet book in 2000, before being published in tree-format. 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, his most famous creation, interviewed the new democratic government’s leaders, including Nelson Mandela. In 2003, Uys premiered a new play, Auditioning Angels, and published his first volume of memoirs, Elections and Erections. A second volume of memoirs, Between the Devil and the Deep, became a bestseller throughout South Africa in 2005.

Pieter-Dirk Uys was awarded South Africa’s prestigious Truth and Reconciliation Award in 2001, as well as 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). Pieter-Dirk Uys’ celebrated alter-ego, Evita Bezuidenhout, proudly received the Living Legacy 2000 Award in San Diego, USA.

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 Evita for President, which he has performed in London, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, and Elections & Erections, which he performed in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town in the run-up to the 2009 election, and toured to the USA in both 2008 and 2009. In September 2008, Evita Bezuidenhout launched her own political party, Evita’s People’s Party, to assist with voter education in preparation for the 2009 general election. Uys also directed his latest play, Macbeki, at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg, in April 2009. In 2010 Uys published a cookbook, Evita’s Kossie Sikelela, and added Desperate First Ladies and F.A.K. Songs and Other Struggle Anthems to his repertoire.

Darling! The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story (www.darlingmovie.com.au), a documentary about Uys’s Aids-awareness presentations, directed by New Zealander Julian Shaw, is being shown worldwide. This DVD, as well as several of Pieter-Dirk Uys’s books, plays and other DVDs, is sold in Evita’s A and C at the Perron.

Pieter-Dirk Uys lives in Darling, where he has converted the old railway station into a cabaret venue called EVITA SE PERRON, famous for its satirical garden, called Boerassic Park, and the domain of Evita Bezuidenhout, the ‘most famous white woman in South Africa’. The unique museum/nauseum of apartheid artefacts there, reflecting the madness of the past, is arguably the only satirical exhibition of South Africa’s recent past.

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