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Tuesday, June 28, 2011


A must for lovers of good food and followers of Pieter-Dirk Uys’s alter-ego, the legendary Evita Bezuidenhout. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Evita Bezuidenhout’s very first cookbook, Evita’s Kossie Sikelela, saw over 40,000 copies sold in the first year since its release in 2010. It was also South African winner of the Gourmand World Cookbooks Awards 2010 in the category Best Easy Recipes Book.

Working alongside Pieter-Dirk Uys in creating the delightful publication, Linda Vicquery has provided the drawings and recipes and, to quote publisher Frederik de Jager, Linda is “as bounteous in the arts of cooking and drawing as she is in her love of life. Eating one’s way through this entire book couldn’t give greater pleasure than seeing the two of them thus honoured.”

Pieter-Dirk Uys’s long-term friend, screen legend Sophia Loren provides the foreword in which she says: “I heard that Evita, this most famous white woman in South Africa, passionately believes that reconciliation can happen around the dinner table. Give enemies a plate of glorious food and watch them become friends? We all agree.”

The introduction gives a potted history of Evita Bezuidenhout’s life, further entrenching the legend created by Pieter-Dirk Uys of this glamorous woman who moves in the top echelons of society and politics – and has much to say about them.

The cover of Evita’s Kossie Sikelela is an artwork in itself. A fold-out wraparound by mr design, it shows a glamorous Evita in her silk gown by Errol Arendz. Backed by a wall festooned with landscape paintings, it features a laden table of food, fruit and floral decorations. At the table are Evita’s son De Kock, her sister Bambi Kellerman and her daughter Billie Jeanne - all Pieter-Dirk Uys in disguise and well-known personalities which appear in his productions.

Apart from the recipes and amusing text, there are paintings of Evita in the style of the masters by Nina van der Westhuizen which include works by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Tretchikoff, to name a few. We even see Evita as da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

While it’s certainly a recipe book with a difference and provides much delicious fun and nonsense, the range of recipes is impressive. Every page carries something that looks easy to make with optimum results. Photographs of Evita in numerous outfits and situations abound – good to muse over while you’re waiting for something to simmer or boil on the stove.

There are also Halaal and Kosher dishes, recipes for diabetics and vegetarians, as well as ideas for meals for children, Christmas activities and picnics.

Author royalties from the sale of this book, matched by the publishers, go to the Darling Trust, founded by Pieter-Dirk Uys to serve the community of Darling in the Western Cape through art and culture, education and health. Visit

Published by Umuzi in good quality hardback, Evita’s Kossie Sikelela is also available in Afrikaans as Evita Se Kossie Sikelela. A must for lovers of good food and followers of Pieter-Dirk Uys’s inimitable alter-ego. – Caroline Smart