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Tuesday, April 20, 2021


(Right: Pieter-Dirk Uys)

South African playwright, satirist, and social justice activist, Pieter-Dirk Uys, will deliver the keynote address at the inaugural Artfluence Human Rights festival presented by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in partnership with the Embassy of the Netherlands from May 5 to 8, 2021.

Pieter-Dirk Uys has worked in the performing arts sector since the early 60s. Closely associated with both the Space Theatre in Cape Town and Johannesburg's Market Theatre during the turbulent 1970s and 1980s, Uys was no stranger to the apartheid era’s censor board. His defiant voice against State censorship is articulated in more than 20 plays and over 30 revues and one-man shows performed throughout South Africa and abroad.

Having survived the mediocrity of apartheid kultuur, Uys claims that he derived therapy from exposing the bones of the apartheid dinosaur and delights equally in exposing the contradictions of the current government.

“For more than four decades, Pieter-Dirk Uys has been a powerful voice of courage, hope and resilience. In 2001, he was awarded South Africa’s prestigious Truth & Reconciliation Award. Twenty years after receiving this award, while his voice for justice continues to resonate with the same force, he is an appropriate choice to deliver the inaugural keynote address at the Artfluence Human Rights festival”, says Ismail Mahomed, the director of the Centre for Creative Arts.

Uys’ list of accolades include being conferred with honorary degrees from Rhodes University (D.Litt.Hon. 1997), the University of Cape Town (D.Litt.Hon. 2003), the University of the Western Cape (D.Edu.Hon. 2003), the University of the Witwatersrand (D.Litt.Hon. 2004) and University of KwaZulu-Natal (Doctor of Literature honoris causa 2014). His celebrated alter-ego, Evita Bezuidenhout, proudly received the Living Legacy 2000 Award in San Diego, USA. In 2011, Uys was honoured with a lifetime achievement Teddy award at the Berlin International Film Festival; in 2012, he received both the FW de Klerk Goodwill Award and the German-Africa Award; and in 2016, he received the ACT (Arts & Culture Trust) Theatre Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Since 2000, Uys has travelled around South Africa with a free AIDS-awareness entertainment called For Facts Sake!, visiting over 1.5 million schoolchildren, as well as prisons and reformatories. He has also released a corporate AIDS-information video, Having Sex with Pieter-Dirk Uys, the family-friendly video, Survival Aids, and Just a Small Prick!, addressing the fears surrounding testing for HIV.

Evita se Peron, Uys’s cabaret theatre and restaurant in Darling, where he lives, would have celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. The venue, which Uys converted from the old Darling railway station, is famous for its satirical garden, Boerassic Park, and is the domain of Evita Bezuidenhout, the “most famous white woman in South Africa”. The unique museum/nauseum of apartheid artefacts there, reflecting the madness of the past, is arguably the only satirical exhibition of South Africa’s recent past. 

The inaugural Artfluence Human Rights Arts Festival with a focus on arts, constitution and democracy will be presented by the Centre for Creative Arts in partnership with the Embassy of the Netherlands. Voices of Hope, Courage and Resilience will be the theme for the inaugural festival. It will mark the 25th anniversary of the Centre for Creative Arts as a vibrantly creative enabler and advocate for social justice and democracy, as well as the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the South African Constitution. The inaugural festival will run for four days, from May 5 to 8, 2021.

Uys will deliver his keynote address during the opening Artfluence on May 5 at 15h00, after which also the Artfluence Human Rights Champion will be announced.

The festival is freely accessible and can be watched via and The full programme will be announced next week.