Bambi Kellermann, the younger sister of Mrs Evita Bezuidenhout, will be performing alongside pianist Godfrey Johnson in a series of concerts – Bambi Kellerman in Kabaret will run from 28 November to 9 December 2023.
Whereas Evita has become a household name and favourite across political-party lines, Bambi smoulders in the background – not yet as famous as her sister, but far more dangerous.
And now she is back in the new democratic South Africa, having left Bethlehem of the old Volkstaat’s Orange Free State in 1956. Those interim years included her marriage to Nazi survivor Joachim von Kellermann and lurching from barely legal job to job. And then Paraguay, where von Kellermann hooked up with his old SS friends and eventually died. She now runs a wine-tasting cellar in Paarl, sometimes referred to as nothing more than an excuse for a high-class brothel. It is known that she is HIV-positive. But with money and knowledge, she can live with her virus, as she did with her terrible secrets.
Divas who also could not sing
Bambi has been inspired to sing songs by those famous Divas who also could not sing: Marlene Dietrich, Hildegarde Knef and Zarah Leander to name but the German ones. She loves the music of Kurt Weill and Stephen Sondheim. And being an Afrikaner meisie at heart, finds any excuse to sing her favourite boere liedjies out of the FAK Sangbundel. But with a sinister twist.
This is what Bambi Kellermann in Kabaret is about: her extraordinary story of survival told in song. Her background echoed in familiar tunes; her inspirations gently mocked through canny impersonation. The cabaret, with music arranged and played by Godfrey Johnson, is in three languages. Her story told in English; her songs in German and Afrikaans.
Not for the faint-hearted
Bambi Kellermann in Kabaret is not for the faint-hearted. It unites the acrid stench of the 1930s Weimar Republic and the sexy rot of Hamburg’s Reeperbahn with the familiar aromas associated with ‘Ons eie’ Voortrekker-camps and rugby braaivleis-orgies.
What: Bambi Kellermann in Kabaret
Where and when:
28, 29 November: Olympia Bakery, Kalk Bay
30 November, 1 December: The Wave Theatre Cafê, Long Street
3 December: Milnerton Playhouse, Milnerton (3pm and 7pm)
6 December: Die Boer, Durbanville
9 December: Die Koelkamers, Paternoster