Statement by the Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile on the occasion of the launch of the South Africa season in France.
Programme Director and the Director General of the Department of Arts and Culture, Mr. Sibusiso Xaba
The French Ambassador to South Africa, Mr. Jacques Lapounge
The South African Chairperson of the French South Africa Seasons 2012 and 2013, Ambassador Dikgang Moopeloa
The French Chairperson of the French South Africa Seasons 2012 and 2013, Mr. Xavier Darcos
The South African Commissioner General of the Seasons, Mr. Bongani Tembe
The French Commissioner General of the Seasons, Mr. Laurent Clavel
The Chief Executive Officer of the National Arts Council, Ms Monica Newton
Senior managers from various partner departments and agencies
Members of the media
Ladies and Gentlemen:
We are brought together here today by a special occasion; the launch of the South Africa Season in France.
As the South African government we are proud that we are taking more than 800 South Africans, including artists, academics, sportsmen and women to France as part of our ongoing programme to strengthen people to people relations between the citizens of South Africa and France.
As part of the Season more than one hundred and fifty events will take place in more than a hundred cities in France.
One of the highlights of the Season will be an occasion where the iconic Eiffel towers in Paris will reflect the colors of the South African flag.
Through the South Africa Season in France 2013, we will offer the French people a glimpse of our country’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.
More importantly our participation at the South Africa Season in France will offer our artists an opportunity to showcase their work to French audiences and allow them to collaborate with their French counter parts.
This we believe is critical in developing the local creative industries.
It will allow our artists to access new markets and will provide opportunities for trade in local cultural goods and services.
It is our view that the South Africa Season in France will advance the goals we have set for ourselves in our Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy; to unleash the potential of the arts, culture and heritage sector to contribute to economic growth, job creation and the building of sustainable livelihoods.
The South Africa Season in France follows our country’s successful hosting of a number of French exhibitions, performances and other cultural activities across South Africa, last year.
We are delighted that all of the activities that were undertaken as part of the French Season last year were received most warmly by South Africans.
This we believe has contributed to our common goal of promoting greater understanding and appreciation of our cultures.
It has also strengthened mutual respect and created lasting opportunities for the further advancement of relations between our two nations.
With the launch today of the South African leg of the Seasons in France, we hope to consolidate the gains we have already made.
The South Africa Season in France takes place at a time when we are preparing to mark the 20th Anniversary of our freedom and democracy, next year in 2014.
It is fitting therefore that the Season this year pays tribute to the South African struggle for liberation, and its many struggle heroes, including former President Nelson Mandela, and many other freedom fighters; to whom this year’s Season is dedicated.
We have no doubt that the South Africa Season in France will be a resounding success. And we wish all our artists who will be flying the South African flag in France all the best.