The most famous white woman in South Africa, Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout, leads a company of characters that include Julius ‘Juju’ Malema, former apartheid minister Pik Botha, kugel Nowell Fine, Mrs Petersen from the Cape Flats, the old Krokodil PW Botha, Madiba and our dancing First Citizen Zuma, all to put the smile back on faces. In a time of worldwide depression, recession, fear and anger, what is better and more healing than a good laugh at the expense of those who depress, recess, frighten and annoy us?
Pieter-Dirk Uys celebrates the 19th year of the rainbow democracy with ‘Adapt or Fly’, the one man show that has taken South Africa by storm. Reflecting the recent months of radical change in South Africa through political paralysis, via the ANC’s 101th birthday celebration, right up a long winding road into the Mangaung Congress, when the ruling party was too busy fighting each other for personal wealth and political power to bother themselves about running a country up, or down, Namibian can only watch in wonder at the fascinating ups and downs of South African politics. Do we now face another year of non-action in preparation for the 2014 General Election? Do we adapt? Or do we fly?
Thirty years ago Uys started his total onslaught against careless, corrupt and unacceptable politics with many visits to Windhoek with shows that reflected much of SWA’s politics too. Apartheid might officially be dead today, but the careless, corrupt and unacceptable political crooks and clowns are still dancing centre-stage. ‘Adapt or Fly’ is a personal political comedy-trek along a familiar long tiptoe to freedom, through the minefields of racism and sexism that have always made up the tarmac of our political freeway. Laughter at fear has always been Uys’s trademark, from the darkness of his first one-man show in 1982 ‘Adapt or Dye’, to the dazzling kaleidoscope of rainbow colours in this 2013 show ‘Adapt or Fly’.
Uys is joining his chorus-line of characters that include a motley medley of past National Party leaders (DF Malan, JG Strydom, HF Verwoerd, BJ Vorster, PW Botha and FW de Klerk), balanced with the more familiar quartet of ANC Presidents from Nelson Mandela, via Thabo Mbeki, through Khalema Motlanthe to Jacob Zuma and beyond. The Malema nickname ‘Kidi Amin’ does come to mind, but then also the question: ‘Julius who?’ Kugel Nowell Fine enjoys her 35 years as the ultimate Jewish African Princess with a look at her now in her seventies, as well as a glance back at when she was last seen in Windhoek as the 1985 Nowell, young, blonde and deep in a liberal white struggle with her maid Dora. And then there is, of course, Evita Bezuidenhout waiting to embrace her job as chairperson of the proposed Media Tribunal as a new member of the ANC.
It is said when history repeats itself, it can take tragedy and turn it into farce. So banish the blues. Come and enjoy the blacks, whites, browns, yellows and ‘others’ that make up this unique country of our dreams. As long as we can laugh at our fear, we are still in charge of our future.