Eiffel Tower lit up in the colours of the SA flag
Full press release :
Over 800 South Africans to participate in the South Africa Season in France 2013
Wednesday, 29 May, 2013. Johannesburg
South Africa was well represented in Paris at the official Opening of the South African Season 2013 in France. Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Paul Mashatile, led the announcement that more than 800 South Africans, including artists, academics and sportsmen, will bring a touch of South Africa to France. The official Opening Week was launched on 28 May and continues to 31 May. The festivities commenced with the much anticipated illumination of the Eiffel Tower, Paris’s most iconic landmark was lit up in the colours of the South African flag.
Mashatile said, “We are most excited to launch the South African Season, which is a result of a bilateral agreement that aims to strengthen people-to-people relations between France and South Africa. Our participation at the South Africa Season in France will offer our artists, academics and sportsmen an opportunity to showcase their work to French audiences, allowing them to collaborate with their French counterparts. This we believe is critical in developing our local creative industries. We are confident that all involved will do us proud.”
The Opening Week highlights included a striking dance performance by Robyn Orlin and Moving into Dance at the National Theatre of Chaillot in Paris yesterday evening. To celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday, there will be an exhibition at the City Hall of Paris from 30 May to 6 July. The Mandela exhibition – From Prisoner to President - pays homage to South Africa’s former President, who was made an Honorary Citizen of the city of Paris, and will explore his extraordinary life.
Commissioner General, Mr Bongani Tembe, adds, “The South African Season is a tribute to the struggle for freedom and the choice of reconciliation over racial division as embodied by many South Africans, including its most famous citizen, former President Nelson Mandela. The French can expect a Season rich in terms of magnitude and diversity.”
The Season will offer French citizens a glimpse into the South Africa of today – a flourishing young democracy that is still healing the wounds of past oppression and that is moving forward every day to consolidate its position among emerging countries.
Between May and December, in about 100 towns across France, highlighting the diversity of South Africa, the Season will include in the region of 250 dance and theatre performances, 100 musical concerts, 50 films, 40 residencies, 35 workshops, 30 exhibitions, and 150 South African wines will be available for the French to taste.
By giving prominence to contemporary creativity, the Season seeks to share the energy of the new South Africa by paying special attention to its transformation and its role and importance in the world. This rich planning of programmes follows the French Season in South Africa, which included more than 100 events around South Africa in 2012.
South Africa is the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to participate in the reciprocal Seasons. In line with the Department of Arts and Culture’s Mzansi Golden Economy strategy, it aims to raise the profile of the arts, culture and heritage sector within the country and abroad, in an effort to create jobs, open up new markets and build sustainable livelihoods for those in the creative industries.
To celebrate the Opening of the Season, Johannesburg will celebrate with an event of its own. On Thursday 6 June from 6pm to 8.30pm the public is invited to enjoy the sounds of the homebrew ‘street level dance phenomenon’ Shangaan Electro and Elemotho from Namibia. Elemotho won the RFI/France 24 Discoveries Music Award in 2012. Set against a background of images from the Opening Week in France, the evening of music is free for all to enjoy at The Grove Esplanade, Melle Street, Braamfontein, which offers safe off-street parking. For more see www.ifas.org.za
For more information on the Season see : www.france-southafrica.com