Statement by Minister Mashatile on the occasion of the launch of the South African leg of the South Africa French Seasons

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17 Apr 2013

Bonjour

Programme Director

The Minister of Culture and Communication in France, Ms Aurelie Flippetti

The Minister of Foreign Affairs in France, Mr. Laurent Fabius

Officials and dignitaries from South Africa and France

Our honoured Guests

Members of the Media

Ladies and Gentlemen

I bring you warm and fraternal greetings from the government and the people of the Republic of South Africa.

We thank our hosts for the hospitality shown to us.

We meet here today to launch the South African leg of the SA - French Seasons 2013.

It follows our 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 Seasons 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, we hope to consolidate the gains already made.

It is our intention that at the end of the Seasons we would have taken our cultural relations to a higher level.

We would have also strengthened our people to people contact and most importantly created opportunities for artists from both our countries to showcase their talent, interact, exchange best practices and access new markets for their artistic products.

Programme Director, I am delighted to report that there has been an overwhelming response from South African artists to participate in the South Africa Season in France.

This indicates to us, the enthusiasm with which South African artists view the Seasons and the French audience.

The South African Season in France takes place at a time when my country is preparing to mark the 20th Anniversary of our freedom and democracy, a milestone we celebrate next year.

It is fitting then that the Seasons 2013 pays tribute to the South African struggle for liberation, acknowledging the path we have traveled as South Africans, moving away from our unhappy past, to a nation that is truly united, non racial, non sexist, and prosperous.

This path, pioneered and symbolized by the founding father of our democratic nation, President Nelson Mandela, and many other freedom fighters.

During this leg of the Seasons we will give the people of France a glimpse of what modern South Africa is all about; a country that is today far better than it was before its liberation in 1994.

We trust that the people of France will join us as we
show-case our country’s rich and diverse arts, culture and heritage.

And it is certainly going to be a show!
More than one hundred and fifty events, will take place in more than a hundred cities in France.

These events will cover areas such as the arts, culture, heritage, sport, tourism, economic development as well as science and technology.
       
We hope that the Seasons will further strengthen the bonds of friendship and solidarity between our peoples.

We hope it will also lay the basis for further collaborations between our two countries in other fields of human endeavor.

May the relations between our two countries grow from strength to strength!

I thank you.