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SATIRIST Pieter-Dirk Uys thinks it was his “great legs” that earned him a German-Africa award.
Uys received the award from the German-Africa foundation for outstanding effort in human rights, democracy and social development.
“I am absolutely thrilled about the award,” he said. “I am happy and honoured to share the award with Marlene le Roux, who has great energy and a creative mind.”
Fellow South African Le Roux is known for making the arts accessible to a wide range of audiences and for fighting for the rights of the disabled.
The Cape Town-born Uys – better known as his alter ego, Evita Bezuidenhout – has been involved in the entertainment industry for more than 40 years.
His satire and comedy shows have tickled audiences for decades.
The playwright has led the debate on seldom-spoken-about sexual matters, educating the nation about Aids, while fighting against social prejudice caused by ignorance and the stigmatisation of HIV/Aids.
Uys has travelled throughout SA, visiting schoolchildren with an Aids-awareness show called, For Facts Sake.
He has also visited prisons and reformatories, spreading the message of Aids awareness.
Other titles in his Aids-awareness arsenal include Aids information videos Having Sex with Pieter Dirk Uys, Survival Aids and Just a Small Prick. The latter addresses fears surrounding HIV testing.
“I have no idea why I received the award. I think maybe it’s because I have great legs,” he quipped.
Uys draws a careful distinction between Evita and himself.
“She is my character and she is the most famous woman in South Africa. I am the most famous person at the local spa.”
Uys said he had found that he was able to reach people on sensitive matters through comedy and satire. “It is important to make the audience see themselves and laugh at themselves,” he said.
“It’s not enough to only look at the bad side. We have to make people have optimism and find a balance in our democracy.”
Previous recipients of the German-Africa Award are former ministers of finance Derek Keys and Trevor Manuel.
Le Roux and Uys will travel to Berlin in November to receive their awards.