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I was sitting with a few journalists from Europe and Russia in Cape Town who were interested in the fact that I’m South African and in what I was reading.
On the bus, The Echo of a Noise: A Memoir of Then and Now was on my lap.
As they peppered me with questions about drought, Lion’s Head, life in South Africa and what books to read to get to know the country and its people, I just pointed down.
I had been reading it since that morning and from the first page it struck me as one of the most stripped-down, honest biographies from a local giant.
Behind the make-up, the jokes, the doek and outside Luthuli House is a sensitive soul who has worked tirelessly to entertain and educate. And behind the smile it took a toll we never saw. It’s a South African story like no other.
Uys lets go of the masks of the likes of Tannie Evita, Bambi or Dr Verwoerd and lets us into the home where he grew up and we see the world through his gaze, a gaze that started questioning the world.
[ON AIR] Pieter-Dirk Uys speaks to us about The echo of a noise: A memoir of then and now as well as his new show – When in Doubt, Say Darling which will have two seasons in KZN #OffThePitch @Lizzy_Khan pic.twitter.com/leh1XcK3ww
— SAfmRadio ???? (@SAfmRadio) October 27, 2018
We talk about his German heritage, his Afrikaner indoctrination and meet Nelson Mandela with him.
The book gives a complete picture of one of SA’s most relevant commentators who approaches the world with love and not hate, telling stories that give international readers a deft, heartfelt and level-headed view of the beloved country.
Uys is witty as he recalls interactions with people like Mandela, his strict dad and the people he grew up with.
His relationship with his father, his relationship with the stage and his relationship with SA is vivid, beautiful and, at times, sad. It is further brought to life by pictures from Uys’ own photo albums.
I hope those journalists read it and learn about one of SA’s biggest stars, because it’s a journey that stays in your mind as you ponder your own place on the tip of Africa.
The Echo of a Noise: A Memoir of Then and Now
Author: Pieter-Dirk Uys