Aletta Bezuidenhout

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Aletta Bezuidenhout (1947-2024). Bilingual (Afrikaans and English) actress, director and writer.


Born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1947. Her father was working as a construction engineer there, but when she was about 16, the family moved back to Johannesburg. They, then spent some time in Swaziland, before returning to Johannesburg, where she completed her schooling at Greenside High School. She initially went to the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg, to study law, but discovered an interest in drama there, so she rather went to the University of Cape Town to complete a BA Drama in the golden days of Professors Rosalie van der Gucht, Robert Mohr and Mavis Taylor.

She began her career with CAPAB for a year after graduating. She then decided to freelance and did mostly experimental work for the Space Theatre. Later she went to the Transvaal and worked for The Company and the Market Theatre, also for the Performing Arts Councils, notably PACT and CAPAB. At the same time she did much TV and film work, and in 19** she became the head of actor-training at City Varsity in Cape Town.

She passed away on 13 January, 2024. She was married three times - to musician Colin Shamley, (with whom she had a son, Hamilton Shamley), actor Tertius Meintjes (with whom she had a son Werner Meintjies) and later to Anthony Perris.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

For CAPAB she appeared in Die Pantoffelmoordenaars and Oom Wanja. Her work at the Space Theatre in the 1970s, included Dusa Stas Fish and Vi, The Resistable Rise of Arturo UI, Treats, and then in 1974 became one of the founding members of The Company, doing i.a. Begeerte, Mother Courage (1977), Vroue van Troje (Market Theatre, 1977), Scenes from an Execution (1994), Klaaglied vir Koos (19**), Tjaart Potgieter’s The Vegetable Woman or Meditations on Blake; The Minotaur's Sister (1985), etc.

Her freelance work led to a number of prominent performances for the Performing Arts Councils, notably PACT, including Ulovane Jive (workshopped and performed with the cast, Windybrow, 1986*?), Loot (1986), The Women of Troy (Adcock-Ingram Theatre, 1987), The Maids (Windybrow Theatre, 1987), Other stage roles over the years have included Woyzeck, Six Characters in Search of an Author, People, Lysistrata, Mama is Terry Home for Good, Twelfth Night, Story Time, Antigone, Tartuffe, The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui (The Space, 1979), Klaaglied vir Koos (1986), Reza de Wet's Drie Susters Twee (“Three Sisters Two”, ArtsCape, Oscar in Afrika (Aardklop, 1999), Draadwerk, Reach (2007). Blou Uur (2008), Moeder Moed en Haar Kinders (2014),

Other productions include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1980), Johnny Cockroach (NAF 1999), Antony and Cleopatra (as Cleopatra, CAPAB 1993), .

As a playwright her credits include: Time of Footsteps (Windybrow Theatre), Silent Envelope (Market Theatre - Director), Angel in a Dark Room (Adcock Ingram Theatre) and Little Big World (Market Theatre). She directed her own plat, Straws at the Pot-Pourri Festival in 1985.

Television credits include The Lady of the Camellias, Thicker than Water, Die Sonkring, and Orion , while film credits include Djadje (Female Lead), Committed (Supporting Female Lead), On the Wire (Female Lead), My Country, My Hat (Female Lead), Country of my Skull, Paljas, Aan/Af, Tannie Elsie.

Awards, etc

She has won many awards, and her award-winning stage credits include Klaaglied vir Koos (DALRO Award - Best actress), Anthony and Cleopatra, Scenes from an Execution (DALRO Award - Best Actress) and The Maids, for which she received both a DALRO Award for Best Actress and a Vita Award for Best Actress (English).

She won a FNB Vita Award in 1997 for Best Lead Actress Drie Susters Twee (Joint winner with Jana Cilliers; Fleur du Cap Best Actress Drie Susters Twee, 1997.


SACD 1974); Limelight 1975/76; 1981/82.

Astbury 1979.

Beeld 10 January 1985.

Tucker, 1997.

Pat Schwartz 1988.

Interview with Diane de Beer, published in The Star, 18 September 2007.

Wikipedia [1].

AJ Opperman. 2024. Aletta Bezuidenhout: ’n Verruklike en eiesoortige aktrise, Die Burger 14 February[2]

Return to

Return to ESAT Personalities B

Return to South African Theatre Personalities

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page