national Arts Festival Banner

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


(Evita trying on her new dress with fashion consultant Julia Buttery who has been helping the Hurley Centre’s sewing group to expand their range of products. Photo: Illa Thompson)

Evita Bezuidenhout gave a media launch this morning of her forthcoming Imbizo. It was fascinating to see this internationally acclaimed satirist and ‘national treasure' dressed in Hurley shweshwe.

Raymond Perrier, director of the Denis Hurley Centre explains: “We try to follow Archbishop Hurley's example of fighting for justice and also like to work with others who, like him, are famously fearless. One long-standing example is the renowned actor and writer Pieter-Dirk Uys whose stage persona, Evita Bezuidenhout, has been entertaining audiences and challenging politicians since the days of Apartheid and into the era of democracy.”

In a probable first for a Catholic Archbishop, Hurley's face appeared on the dress that Evita wore at her press conference, launching the new show which runs in Durban until November 19. When asked what message she had for religious leaders, Evita replied: “Just learn to work with each other—don't try to compete.”

“We feel that she would be proud of our efforts in this direction,” adds Perrier.

Pieter-Dirk Uys has used his fame and the proceeds from his shows to develop highly effective community-based AIDS education programmes around the country. He was thus very moved to see the work at the DHC and very generously agreed to offer tickets to over 100 of the Centre’s supporters at a discounted price.

The dress Evita wore was designed by Julia Buttery and Paige Garbutt who have been working with the Centre’s Sewing for Africa project. Their on-line store of shweshwe designs includes products made by the group and features photos taken in the building. Other simpler products can also be made to order from Hurley shweshwe – just contact Raymond Perrier on email: for more details.

“We will be continuing our work in the field of the arts as Neil Coppen, whose team developed with us the play Ulwembu about drug addiction, starts work on a new drama project at the DHC looking at the lives of refugee women in Durban,” adds Perrier.

Tannie Evita is in Durban to present her Evita Bezuidenhout & the Kaktus of Separate Development at the Elizabeth Sneddon theatre on UKZN campus for a three week run from October 31 until November 19.

Booking is at Computicket.