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PIETER-DIRK UYS’S AIDS SHOW (article first published : 2000-08-20)

Well-known entertainer, satirist and playwright (aka as Mrs Evita Bezuidenhout) is currently taking a free show about AIDS/HIV/Safe Sex to schools in the Cape province. Visiting an average of two schools a day for a week, he aims to highlight the issues around AIDS and safe sex.

“It’s also about how we can come to terms with the fact that it won't go away. People are dying. But people are also living with AIDS,” says Pieter-Dirk Uys. “Now that the arena of death in South Africa has moved from politics to sex, the weapon of humour and satire must be used in that minefield. But how does one entertain schoolchildren with the fact that if they're not careful they will die?”

He deals with the challenge with humour, honesty and without prejudice towards the children’s age, background or sensitivities of parents and teachers. He believes that because he is neither a teacher or a parent, he is able to make youngsters relax – and listen. They’ve enjoyed his entertainment either on television or in the theatre and know they'll miss the fun if they don't attend closely.

“I use different characters to highlight diverse attitudes,” he adds. “And make them laugh at our fear, because we are all just people joined together by the terror of dying of love. There is nothing funny about AIDS, just as there was nothing funny about apartheid. But there is much to laugh at. Mainly at our own fear, which becomes so paralysing because we don't want to know. Ignore and it will go away.

“Children have lost their innocence. Everyone there in the school hall is a potential statistic and that's why it is the human aspect that must be the essence of the show. People get ill, people need love, people die. Not just numbers and percentages but friends, parents and family. Bring out the ugly condoms and make jokes about them, but also put across the facts and the fears.“

”For Fact’s Sake”, Pieter Dirk Uys’s show along the same lines that he presented in Grahamstown at the Standard Bank National Arts Festival is reviewed on the Festivals pages




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