South African arts and culture lovers are incredibly grateful to the French Institute and the Alliance Francaise for the programmes they bring to South Africa each year. Recently the media were invited to an event outlining the 2015 happenings.
The French already brought Celine Moinet, oboist, to the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival. I was there to hear this astounding musician show off her considerable technical skills. I did miss the dance collaboration between Via Katlehon and Cie Hors-Serle in January as well as the My Body My Space festival in February.
Currently at the Stevenson Gallery in Juta Street Braamfontein is a photography exhibition featuring Senegalese photographer Mame-Diarra Niang. On until 2 March at the Nirox Foundation is a Michel Duport sculpture exhibition.
Sello Pesa is being sponsored by IFAS to present a work with French researcher Dominique Malaquais at the Dance Umbrella in Johannesburg. The Dance Umbrella starts on 26 February and runs until 15 March 2015.
I have already written about the Good France/Gout de France dinner on 19 March when over 1000 chefs from around the world will be participating in a French cuisine evening. Seven South African restaurants are involved.
One of the most interesting works is Waterberg to Waterberg a cine-debate relating to what happened to Samuel Maherero after the 1904 Battle of Waterberg? One minute he was the most influential leader in Namibia, the next he was running for his life with a bounty on his head. This is a fascinating look at a little known piece of African history.
The European Film Festival will be a highlight again at the Cinema Nouveau. Ticket prices will be R50 (subsidized). The theme is “A Woman’s World”.
The French always celebrate Africa Day on 25 May. French is an African language after all.
In June (27 June) the Fete de la Musique happens in Newtown in Johannesburg (this is a festival which happens all over the world at the same time.) On 29 June Jill Richards will be doing a tribute to Boulez, Cage and Stockhausen entitled “Day of the Giants”.
Various other projects follow including the National Arts Festival, the Durban International Film Festival, the Week of Taste, and an exhibition by Bambo Sibiya. Two of these that I am particularly interested in catching are a presentation of the 1927 silent movie Metropolis with live accompaniment. I have attended a screening of this movie with Paul Hanmer doing the improvisation and I was blown away. I definitely want to attend this concert. The other is the Reunionese circus, Cirquons Flex.
As usual this is a fabulous programme and there are many exciting events to suit all tastes. There are also a multitude of events happening in France, and in parts of the country which are not Johannesburg. I have ignored those as being irrelevant to me. I do acknowledge though, that they are very much part of the programme.
The thanks of South African audiences go to the French.