Ouma Ossewania Talks Dirty

16 July 2004

Pieter-Dirk Uys, South Africa’s most famous political satirist, has been sending up his mother country since the 1970s – most famously in the guise of his alter ego, Evita Bezuidenhout.

But if you thought Evita was outspoken, just wait till you hear what her 102 year-old mother, Ouma Ossewania Kakebenia Poggenpoel, has to say about the state of the nation in Ouma Ossewania Praat Vuil (Talks Dirty).

This hilarious memoir – the first in a trilogy of plays starring the Poggenpoel family – filled with social commentary and candid opinion from the filthy mouth of this Boere volksmoeder, comes to the Tesson at Johannesburg’s Civic Theatre from 10 to 28 August (Tuesdays to Saturdays at 8pm).

The show is performed in Afrikaans, will be understood by anyone who has listened to a rude joke in that language, and should delightfully offend all adults.

Ossewania Kakebenia – named after the Boer ossewa (oxwagon) and the kakebeen (jaw) of the Afrikaner ox – was born on 31 December 1900, during the Anglo-Boer war, in the concentration camp of Heldersonop. Her mother was the legendary Sarie Marais, who inspired the folksong but little else; her father was the charming rogue Gerhardus Poggenpoel.

Little Ossewania grew up angry, eventually giving birth to two illegitimate daughters, Evangelie and Baby.

After years in Bethlehem in the old Orange Free State – where Ossewania was for years the youngest organist in the Dutch Reformed Church – she moved to Johannesburg with her daughters and took over the management of a seedy boarding house in Doornfontein.

Baby went to Europe to follow her dreams, while Evangelie became a Killarney film star, eventually marrying into the powerful and ruthless Bezuidenhout family, something Ossewania never approved of, especially when Evangelie changed her name to Evita.

Mevrou Poggenpoel spent the glory years of the 1960s and 1970s in the shadow of her now-famous daughter, who had become the glittering hostess of the National Party in power. But Ossewania’s anger was never far from the surface.

Now 102 years old, abandoned in an old-age home, waiting to be fetched by a family who never turn up, this ancient Afrikaner matron lets rip.

She has had enough: enough of democracy and affirmative action, enough of lies, corruption and hypocrisy. She regards her famous daughter with contempt, and even though she loves her great-grandchildren, the fact that they are black does not sit comfortably with her. Her unnatural passion for church leaders has not waned, and even at her ripe old age Ouma Ossewania has been known to spy on the young dominee in the toilet of the local NG Kerk.

Throughout her life Ouma Ossewania believed them when they said apartheid was a gift of God. Now she knows her life was wasted on a lie. Is it too late? Will the Zulu garden “boy” still sleep with her? Will he want more than the R20 she has saved?

Ouma Ossewania Praat Vuil – n Afrikaans, in language that would make a tart from Benoni blush. Without censorship, without good taste, and without qualms.

Book at Computicket or at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre.

Source: Johannesburg Civic Theatre