Profile: Evita Bezuidenhout

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Evita BezuidenhoutThe popular character, Evita Bezuidenhout, fondly known as Tannie (or ‘Aunt’) Evita, was created by South African performer, author and social activist Pieter-Dirk Uys during the Apartheid era.

Uys’ one-man revues began as a form of political revolt and expression. His medium of humour and stand-up comedy was used to criticise and expose the absurdity of the South African government’s racial policies.

Originally inspired by Australian comedian Barry Humphries’ housewife sensation Dame Edna Everage, Evita is a white Afrikaner socialite.  A self-proclaimed political activist, she is the proud ambassadress of Bapetikosweti, a fictitious Bantustan (black homeland) located outside her home in the affluent, formerly whites-only suburbs of Johannesburg.

In1996 Uys converted the old railway station of his home village of Darling into a cabaret venue called Evita se Perron (Perron is Afrikaans for station platform).  A part of the grounds serves as a museum of sorts, called ‘Boerassic Park’.  Evita Bezuidenhout gives regular performances at this venue.

Books:

  • Farce about Uys (1983)
  • Selle ou storie: A play (Donker, 1983)
  • Paradise Is Closing Down and Other Plays (1989)
  • Funigalore: Evita’s Real-Life Adventures in Wonderland
  • The Essential Evita Bezuidenhout (The Essential Series)
  • A part hate a part love: The legend of Evita Bezuidenhout (1994)
  • Trekking to Teema (2001)
  • Elections & Erections: A Memoir of Fear and Fun (2003)
  • Kossie Sikelela (2010)

Films & Documentaries:

  • Skating on thin Uys, a 1985 comedy lampooning P.W. Botha
  • Darling! The Pieter–Dirk Uys Story, a 2007 documentary by Julian Shaw

Awards:

  • The 2011 TMSA Naledi Lifetime Achiever Award
  • Special Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) 2011
  • Truth and Reconciliation Award in 2001
  • Mrs Evita Bezuidenhout was awarded the Living Legacy 2000 Award in San Diego
  • The lifetime achievement award from the Cape Tercentenary Foundation
  • Doctor honoris causa from
    • Rhodes University: D.Litt. (Hon.), 1997
    • University of Cape Town: D.Litt for distinguished, socially-responsible creative work in 2003
    • University of the Western Cape: D.Ed. (Hon.), 2003

Website: www.evita.co.za

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