100 World Class South Africans: Pieter-Dirk Uys

2013-10-01 12:00

Special split personality

Recipients of the Living Legacy Award have included Margaret Thatcher, Maya Angelou and Hillary Clinton.

Acknowledging women who make great contributions to humanity, all have been real people, bar one.

In 2000, it was Evita Bezuidenhout, a fictional persona, who won.

Her creator, Pieter-Dirk Uys, was barely acknowledged.

Fortunately there’s no rivalry between the two, as Uys has several awards of his own.

These include a Special Teddy Award at the Berlin Film Festival, the 2001 Truth & Reconciliation Award, and an Obie in 2004.

Instead of pursuing a ‘normal’ stage career, Uys focused on satire directed at the evils of apartheid.

His breakout hit Adapt or Dye (1981) featured razor-sharp impersonations of politicians.

He followed with many more shows, touring the US, UK, Europe and Australia.

Post-1994, when the government changed hands, it merely provided Uys with more satire-worthy fodder in productions like You ANC Nothing Yet and Desperate First Ladies.

He has also been using his wit to spread the message about safe sex and lessons in democracy.

‘I will lose my life protecting the great Constitution of SA,’ he said in 2011. In 2013, he says: ‘To be continued: watch this space!’

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