Reception in celebration of the opening of Parliament
On February 14 2017, Ambassador of France to South Africa, H.E. Christophe Farnaud, hosted a reception at the Granger Bay Hotel School in Cape Town to celebrate the opening of Parliament.
Known as the annual rendez-vous, Members of Parliament, Ministers, representatives of the Western Cape Province and of the City of Cape Town, Ambassadors, as well as members of the business community, clergy, civil society, academia and artists attended the event.
Ambassador Farnaud used the opportunity to reflect on the highlight of 2016 and to look forward to the upcoming events of the French network in 2017.
Ambassador Farnaud: “Cooperation between France and South Africa has been rich over the past year but we can always do more, that is my mission!”.
During the reception, Ambassador Farnaud bestowed the insignia of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres on two prominent South African artists, Mr. Jay Pather and Mr. Peter Rorvik.
The Order of Arts and Letters is a French decoration of honour established in 1957 and given by the French Ministry of Culture. The award is given to recognise significant contributions to the arts, literature, or the propagation of these fields, in France and abroad. There are three levels: knight, officer and commander.
• Mr Peter Rorvik as Chevalier des Arts et Lettres:
Mr Peter Rorvik has a diverse and expansive career, spanning from Durban festivals to Pan-African networks, and bridging disciplines, from film festivals to slam poetry and cultural policies debates. Between 1999 and 2012, at the head of the Centre for Creative Arts of the Kwazulu-Natal University in Durban, Mr. Rorvik played a critical role in the growth and visibility of the cultural events production platform. Mr. Rorvik also created school-visiting programmes for leading writers and poets to stimulate reading and writing amongst the youth and introduced slam poetry competitions. Appointed in 2013 as secretary-general of Arterial network, Peter Rorvik developed its mission of creating civil society networks of cultural role-players, empowering their work for the cultural dimension of development in a manner that contributes to development, human rights and democracy and to the eradication of poverty on the African continent.
In 2014, Mr. Rorvik was appointed by the South African Minister of Arts and Culture to the Interim Committee to set up a Cultural and Creative Industries Federation in South Africa (CIFSA).
•Mr Jay Pather, as Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres:
Jay Pather is Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town, Director of the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA); Artistic Director of Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre, Chair of the National Arts Festival Artistic Committee and Curator for the Infecting the City Public Art Festivals.
Since his studies as a Fulbright Scholar at New York University, Pather’s work has traveled widely extending across discipline, site and culture. He has collaborated with visual artists, architects and urban planners, since 1984, taking his inter-cultural performances into public spaces and working with the architecture of Johannesburg, Durban, London, Zanzibar, Amsterdam, New York, Barcelona, Mumbai, Muscat, New Delhi, Copenhagen, Koln and Cape Town.
Pather has presented papers at amongst others the African Knowledges Workshop in Cape Town, the School for New Dance in Amsterdam, the International Leadership Forum at Aix en Provence, the UNESCO Conference on Art Education in Africa, at the Territoires de la creation Conference in Lille, the Metropolis Conference in Copenhagen, the World Cultural Forum in Brazil, the African Urbanism Colloquium in Cairo, Performance Studies International 17 in Utrecht and at the International Theatre Institute in London.
Mr. Rorvik and Mr. Pather have been long friends, supporters and important partners of the French Embassy in South Africa and of the French Institute in South Africa.