AN EVENING WITH EVITA BEZUIDENHOUT
“Inspirational. Transformational. Funny. Glamorous. Topical. Typically South African. Optimistic. Hopeful.”
These are some of the words used to describe Evita Bezuidenhout’s recent State of the Nation address to corporates, conferences, think-tanks, indabas, award ceremonies and report-backs. The most famous white woman in South Africa is focusing on the need to move from the fearful negative that has infected our society to optimistic hope and excitement for a successful future for all.
Her life in politics, from representing the National Party regime in a black homeland, through the kitchens of power to now take her place in Luthuli House as a respected member of the ANC, allows Mrs Bezuidenhout to share many wisdoms with her audience. Focusing on women and the state of family values, she underlines the importance of remembering where we come from so we can celebrate where we are going. To her the balancing act of life in our rainbow democracy is too often between a glass half-full and a glass half-empty. Evita Bezuidenhout uses humour and hope with respect and optimism to make her point: the people must lead and the government will follow.
She has been in the lives of South Africans for the last thirty-plus years, since her introduction in 1982 as the South African Ambassador to the Homeland of Bapetikosweti. She is probably the closest we have to the Queen Mother and because she does not use ‘bad’ language or ‘tasteless’ references, her audiences have grown to include citizens from all walks of life, from executives to trade unionists, reflecting the multi-cultures of South Africa, all united by a diverse and uncomplicated sense of humour. Jokes are funny. The truth can be even more outrageous. Laughing at our fear can help make that fear less fearful. Confronting the complex and worrying realities of our twenty-two year old democracy with humour has proved to be enriching and enlightening. It is also great entertainment.
In English or Afrikaans, or bilingual with necessary nods in the direction of the other nine official languages, the presentation is ideally 80 to 90 minutes long. Experience has shown that Evita’s talk set against the upsetting political news of the day, creates a successful balance for the audience.
“Uys dons false eyelashes and presidents listen.” LA TIMES OCT 2009