“Inspirational. Transformational. Funny. Glamorous. Topical. Typically South African. Optimistic. Hopeful”
These are some of the words used to describe Evita Bezuidenhout’s 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.
Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout’s Luthuli Housekeeping Report
Evita Bezuidenhout’s mission is to keep an eye on our present state of democracy and make sure that it is not diffused by carelessness, corruption or confusion. She is in Luthuli House where she cooks for reconciliation and has put the entire ANC cabinet on a strict diet. Her vision of the land we live in is provocative, passionate, unafraid and extremely funny, in spite of the fact that there seems to be very little in our present political speed wobbles to laugh at.
NOTE: A suggested combination of this and the following Pieter-Dirk Uys presentation with 20 minutes between (maybe for a main course) will entertain with topicality and encourage optimism through laughter.
On the Pot-Holed Road to our Freedom with Pieter-Dirk Uys
Pieter-Dirk Uys, using humour as his favourite weapon of mass distraction, takes us on a collective long walk to freedom. Inspired by the legacy of Nelson Mandela, he traces the historical footprints of Madiba with those from his life, born in 1945. Uys presents each of the National Party leaders in cartoon-form. He reflects the legacy of those whites who fought apartheid from within, especially that unlikely freedom -fighter called Helen Suzman. He reminds us how one woman did so much to change the history of her country. Then to the birth of our rainbow democracy. After 27 April 1994 Uys loses his job as satirist as there are no more BaasBothas. Soon the democratically-elected politicians become his next scriptwriters. He presents Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and ends the journey with Jacob Zuma. A humorous and unique 30 minute walk to freedom that we all share in one or other way.
Evita has been in the lives of South Africans for the last thirty 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.
She has become used to being the most famous white woman in South Africa, if not Africa. And she is now also the most famous white woman in the ANC. After having joined the party when her grandchildren challenged her to protect democracy, so that one day when they needed it, the freedom to vote would still be a sacred right, she is back in active politics.
She recognises many familiar speed wobbles in the state of the nation, and having survived the virus of apartheid, she is vocal about how to prevent a recurrence of the epidemic. She helps the President prepare his speeches and celebrates the knowledge that there are far more good people in politics than bad ones. Her focus is also on the importance of strong committed municipalities. “The municipality is in the front garden. The provincial government is across the street and the national government is up the hill!”
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 uses humour and hope with respect and optimism to make her point: the people must lead and the government will follow.
In English or Afrikaans, or bilingual with necessary nods in the direction of the other nine official languages, the presentation is ideally 30 to 40 minutes long. Experience has shown that Evita’s talk, set among other speeches of substance and maybe not many laughs, creates a successful balance for the audience.
“Uys dons false eyelashes and presidents listen.” LA TIMES OCT 2009
Living Legacy award: Tannie Evita was awarded the Living Legacy 2000 Award in San Diego by the Woman’s International Centre for “Her contribution to the place of women in the last century.” While other honourees received the award for great things, Ons Tannie received hers for the laughter and positive energy that her presence evokes. Mother Theresa and Hilary Clinton are past honourees of this award.
Enjoying Koeksisters with Tannie Evita
Many corporate report-backs and celebrations include partners, wives and those who are not directly involved in the business aspect of the occasion. Evita Bezuidenhout is the ideal diversion. She can entertain the women to a special morning gathering where tea and koeksisters are served. She will surprise everyone by not just sharing the obvious tips of her success as wife, mother, grandmother, icon and sometime aikona. Evita believes passionately in the future of our country through the focus on the education and embrace of our young people. She also believes that women who make up 52% of the population, are under estimating their value as leaders and social entrepreneurs. With humour, glamour, a touch of calories and a gush of optimism, Evita Bezuidenhout can make an hour speed by, giving her guests a unique memory of something that extends beyond the expected diversion of light-hearted entertainment.
Mrs Evita Bezuidenhout Cooks up a Storm
Evita Bezuidenhout’s two cookbooks – Evita’s KossieSikelela and Evita’s BossieSikelela – have been bestsellers in South Africa and are now internationally available on Amazon Kindle. Compiled by Linda Vicquery, the recipes cover a vast variation of tastes and likes, from traditional South African/Afrikaans favourites to the unknown and unfamiliar culinary treasures that have made a South African menu unique and successful. She focuses on her acclaimed career of cooking for reconciliation, ever since the late 1970s when South African Foreign Minister Pik Botha focused on her bobotie as a means of making friends for South Africa. That dish is also how she brought the African National Congress and the National Party of apartheid together in 1985 in the dining room of her Embassy in the Homeland Republic of Bapetikosweti. The rainbow nation was a logical progression. Evita will be accompanied by a chef of choice who will prepare a selection of dishes from her cookbooks while Tannie Evita keeps an eagle’s eye on the proceedings. Signed copies of her cookbook are also available as gifts.
Let Evita Bezuidenhout be the Hostess at your Corporate Dinner
With a menu complied from her legendary collection of recipes, Evita Bezuidenhout will welcome all and gently lead through various courses with anecdotes and highlights from her life and the vibrant history of our country. Her vision of the past, the present and the future, balanced with calories and cordon bleu, is enriched with humour, optimism and common sense. The only weight that will be picked up during this dinner will be the knowledge that if the people lead, government will follow. Reconciliation can start round a dinner table and with Evita Bezuidenhout at the head of it, a rainbow of laughter will illuminate the unforgettable event.