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Monday, December 12, 2011


Clear your mind for future inspiration and preserve vital personal information safe from cellphone technology. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Evita Bezuidenhout has long been established as the most famous white woman in South Africa. For many years, she was the ambassadress of the (fictional) bantustan Bapetikosweti in the old South Africa.

A creation of writer, performer, satirist and playwright Pieter-Dirk Uys, she has swanned in and out government circles since he introduced her in his column in the Sunday Express in 1978 as “the tannie in Waterkloof who says...” and then in real life as Evita in Adapt or Dye on stage in 1981.

Always elegantly dressed in designer outfits by Chris Levin, Errol Arendz and Francois Vedemme, she has also been known to support the local SPCA shop and the Oriental Plaza in Johannesburg. She admits to having “a solder (wardrobe) full of the dresses since 1980, thin clothes, medium clothes, fat clothes and shoes that would make Imelda Marcos melt.”

She does her own beautifully-manicured nails and supports a “great hair stylist” called Ella in Pieter-Dirk Uys’ hometown of Darling.

Close on 20 years ago, I was part of the film crew covering the event at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre when Evita "retired". She stripped herself down to the nearly-bare image of her creator to gasps of astonishment and horror – as in “she’s committing suicide!” – from the audience. "I was forced to retire from the diplomatic corpse because of the advent of democracy and the colour of my pigmentation,” she says. “But as we say 'boer maak 'n plan'. A good cook doesn't have to audition for party or place. Good food is good food."

Evita has written a number of books but one of her best-selling to date is Evita's BlackBessie. This was produced in response to the situation earlier this year when BlackBerry users across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas were hit with service disruptions to their smartphones.

Evita's BlackBessie works as a back-up file on paper - a book/diary/dossier, as it were - where you can enter important personal information and other vital networking details. It provides the opportunity for people to take their archival information back into their own hands, without reliance on cellphone technology and the risks that this entails.

As she explains, this information “… cannot be wiped out when the magnetic field misbehaves or somebody trips over the wire of some supercomputer. My grandchildren are trying to drag me out of the 60th century while I keep reminding them that civilization is thanks to the paper it was written up on.”

Evita's BlackBessie charts Evita’s fashion journey – as well as some of the high profile people in her life – as she advocates the importance of making lists to prioritise things that need to be done. The idea is to clear your mind of clutter, knowing that vital information is stored somewhere safe, leaving it clear to absorb new inspiration and develop new ideas.

There are blank pages attached to each chapter to add information relating to medical prescriptions, tax guidelines, service providers, valuable contact numbers etc. In the section on pets’ history, she quips: “Dogs have owners, cats have staff”! Another amusing comment is “Love your enemy – it will ruin his reputation”!

To the suggestion that the book seems to be "tidying up" her life, perhaps as a prelude to retirement, she firmly responds: "No, it just means that my days can be spent creatively and not trying to find out what must be done next. A list is 50% of the job. Work can be a pleasure."

Die boek is ook in Afrikaans gepubliseer as Evita se BlackBessie – maar NIE in elektroniese formaat nie.

Evita's BlackBessie retails at R180. ISBN: 978-1-4152-0158-9 It’s a delight and I’m about to start using it myself! – Caroline Smart

For a frank interview with Evita and her sister Bambi, visit