Mandela Magic in France at its peak!

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17 Jul 2013

Johannesburg:The South African Season is well underway in France, with excitement building ahead of celebrations to mark former President Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July. With South Africa marking July as Mandela Month, we are sharing some Madiba magic with our French counterparts, including encouraging them to support Nelson Mandela International Day, by giving 67 minutes of their time to a worthy cause.

Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Paul Mashatile, explains, “18 July gives us all a chance to celebrate Mandela’s Birthday, acknowledge his selfless struggle for the freedom of others but also an opportunity to preserve his legacy by following his example and giving of ourselves for the benefit of humanity. Let us draw inspiration and hope from Mandela as we each play our role in the ongoing struggle for what he stands for peace, reconciliation, justice and equality for all.”

The concept of dedicating 67 minutes to serving others in the name of Nelson Mandela has been widely adopted by French patriots for the first time this year, and the French public is being encouraged to participate in the 67 minute campaign.

The Nelson Mandela exhibition: From Prisoner to President, at the Hotel de Ville in Paris, has broken all previous attendance records and has consequently been extended to 27 July.

SA Commissioner General of the Seasons, 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 are enjoying a Season rich in terms of magnitude and diversity and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Over 150 different projects, performances and initiatives are taking place across 100 cities in France. Cultural events are being combined with an array of activities in other fields such as innovation, science and technology, higher education, business, tourism, sport and languages, to name but a few.”

The highlights for the July period include the final, much-anticipated illumination of the Eiffel Tower in the colours of the South African flag and will also be enjoyed by the French public and tourists from all over the world.

The well-loved KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra will celebrate International Mandela Day at the re-opening of the Place de la Republique in Paris; conducted by Laurent Petitgirard, they will perform a selection of South African compositions.  The Clermont Community Choir from Durban, praise poet Melusi Kubheka, a range of South African soloists and a guest performance by Yvonne Chaka Chaka, will make this an unforgettable event.  Taking place on Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday, this concert is a tribute to Mandela’s immense service not only to South Africa but to the nationhood of humanity.

Other performances underway include a theatre production by William Kentridge and dance performance by Nelisiwe Xaba. The South African jazz weekend at the Paris Jazz festival will highlight our rich jazz heritage, and gracing the stage will be jazz legendary Hugh Masekela, Marcus Wyatt and Blue Gene.

The “My Joburg” exhibition at La Maison Rouge is captivating Parisians with its display of Johannesburg and offers audiences a glimpse of its dynamic, singular art scene. The scale of the city’s diversity, energy, challenges and beauty has enthralled visitors, with the opening day seeing more than 900 people pass through the exhibition. Artists include Mary Sibande, Winston Luthuli, Bettina Malcommess and Merilyn Mushakwe.

More than 6,000 people attended the show “This House” at Palais de Tokyo’s opening day. Curated by Mikhael Subotsky and Anthea Buys, it has been described as very beautiful and moving. Combining films, sculptures and installations, the exhibition connects architecture with politics to display both the visible and invisible connections between the two. Through references to colonial African history, slavery and Apartheid, they explore relationships of power and representation.

Commissioners General Tembe is overwhelmed by the powerful combination of South African and French artistry and adds that, “these performances undoubtedly set the tone for furthering the strong cultural relationship that the Season is highlighting between our nations.”

The South African Season in France comes ahead of preparations for the celebration of South Africa’s 20th Anniversary of freedom and democracy.

The Seasons is in line with the Department of Arts and Culture’s Mzansi Golden Economy strategy, which 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.

“I hope that this will be an opportunity for the French to learn to love South Africa, with all its wealth and beautiful diversity. The ultimate reward will be to see the two nations advance towards a better, more humane and caring world through greater cooperation in the fields of arts, culture and heritage, science and technology, sport and business,” concludes Minister Mashatile.

For more information see: www.france-southafrica.com

                                                                                                              
Department of Arts and Culture: Percy Mthimkhulu 082 389 2684
McCann Public Relations: Beverley.bradley@mccann.com 072 272 5166

Musa.Zanempi@mccann.com Tel: 011 235 4636