Tannie Evita Photos: Supplied
Tannie Evita Photos: Supplied

The last tango in Evita’s pantry

By Evita Bezuidenhout Time of article published Nov 14, 2018

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Expropriation of my land? Pornography in my pantry? I am still a junior member of the ANC, not in age, but in membership. I’m 83. As one of the few whites in the movement, I glow in the dark next to Minister Derek Hanekom. I serve the tea and he drinks it.

As the ANC is a non-racial, non-sexist and in some ways nonsensical organisation, freedom of speech and expression are always and loudly on top of the list of celebrated rights. (The list is on paper; the rights are in the Cloud.) The one thing I have learnt in the last two years of membership is: keep your head below the parapets of power and always get a second opinion before you air your views.

There is freedom of speech in the ANC. It is only after speech that freedom goes. Far be it for me to comment given our past. I have no secret. I have been in the lives of South Africans since 1981 when I stepped out of the shadows of a political husband to become the first female member of the diplomatic corpse.

My husband, Dr JJ Bezuidenhout (“Hasie”) was still the NP MP for Laagerfontein and like all parliamentary wives, I followed him three respectful steps behind his leadership. I behaved like a wife and mother and stayed in the shadows, knowing full well that when the stress hits the fan, Hasie would come to me for a solution.

So of course I was a faithful member of the National Party without question, because the alternative was too ghastly to contemplate, to the left and specifically to the right. I’m probably the only white South African to admit that I voted for apartheid. If only I had been locked up maybe I’d be minister of education now.

As the South African ambassador to the independent black homeland of Bapetikosweti (1981-1993), I was privy to policy and secrets that were only shared with the top echelons of government. I don’t have to repeat any of those secrets, because current history is doing it for me.

Now that I am once again a member of the ruling party, I can’t really tell the difference. So often we read scathing fake news from the devices of leading comrades who all hide behind the edifice of their personal capacity, as if party and person live in two universes.

Tannie Evita with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

But as a mere South African, I can only state my pride in being a citizen, a democrat (some call me a designer-democrat which I still must confirm as hate speech), a wife, a mother and most importantly the Gogo of three young millennial Makoeloelis who are very quickly maturing.

The youngest, LaToya-Ossewania is still in the seventh grade, Nelson-Ignatius is finishing his 12th and Winnie-Jeanne is at Wits University in her second year, studying for a degree in political science. (How clever of them to put those two subjects together.) She is focusing on the legacy of Nelson Mandela, shockingly not as a celebration, but an accusation of him selling out to white monopoly capital.

The feral strays in the extreme political compounds now find an easy target in Nelson Mandela. What a coup to trash an untouchable international icon and make him and his statesmanship the scapegoat for their self-imposed disappointments.

The slogan Mandela is a sell-out dripped like bitter honey from the bla-bla horns at the mouths of CiC Malema and other compatriots in the Black-First-Land-First-Brain-Last gang. Really? Most of them were barely out of diapers when Prisoner 466/64 came out of 27 years of darkness and gave us all unexpected light.

And as for being a sell-out? Yes, of course, that’s what politicians do. They negotiate. They sit down with the opposite sides after burying the hatchets and work out how, where and when a future can be realised. Selling out a percentage here and compromising with a solution there. 

Tannie Evita with Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and FW de Klerk back in the day.

Without that process during the Groote Schuur Indaba, oiled with the best Cape wines, bloody civil war would have exploded and we’d be Somalia. Nelson Mandela will probably be celebrated by history as the last true politician-statesman who put his people first. Since then, the people have become the mere ticks in the many boxes of bribed acceptance, the many who, exhausted by the onslaughts of political correctness, just mutter: “Yes, I agree, (t&c’s apply).”

Which brings me to Gigaba. What was he doing in my pantry a few months ago when he went in with his cellphone, closed the door and stayed there for nearly a hour? When he came out, he looked exhausted, so I gave him some rooibos tea and a koeksister. He filmed the koeksister for his wife and swore me to secrecy. 

It seems that my pantry had become a National Key Point where highly confidential meetings are held. It became quite a habit for comrades and cadres, singly and sometimes in a group of two or three, to go into my pantry and do what I thought were important secret things for the sake of security and good governance. I then started an inventory of stock because some of the items diminished, especially the olive oil.

First I wanted to cry “Thief! Thief!”, but then remembered that among some cadres, old habits die hard. Imagine my panic when recently I saw that headline of Minister Gigaba To add shock to horror, I discovered ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule having a secret meeting there with a former president, but he assured me that he had just popped in to show Comrade Jacob his Pierneef collection. (Isn’t that sweet? Ace being an art fundi?) He then gently calmed me down, explaining that a so-called sex tape was private and harmless


Tannie Evita with Cyril Ramaphosa in yesteryear.

Recently again there was another scandal around the acting head of the NPA, this time a film of a sexual excursion with a female security guard - in my pantry. (I saw the Mrs Balls Chutney bottle on the shelf behind them. That’s why it lay broken on the floor the next day!) These two also spent quite a time in the pantry, supposedly analysing the recent comments of King Goodwill Zwelithini and his promise to protect Zulu land ownership from expropriation.

Which brings me to the real issue of the moment. As is well known, the ANC has pinpointed 139 farms which they will expropriate without compensation as a prelude to the national focus. And one of them is our farm in Mpumalanga.

Evita will appear with other famous white women: Mrs Merkel, Mrs May and Nowell Fine in Pieter-Dirk Uys’s When In Doubt, Say Darling, which returns to the Fugard Studio for a three week season from November 27 to December 15.

Book online at thefugard.com or 021 461 4554

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