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The 2013 celebration of Bastille Day was a momentous one for the French Embassy in Pretoria.


Ambassador Barbier could not only look back on a successful completion of the French Season in South Africa in 2012 and highlight the strong start to the South African Season in France, she was also able to celebrate one of South Africa’s greatest artists, William Kentridge, by bestowing the signet of “Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres”.

The award recognises Kentridge’s enormous contribution to the arts in South Africa and indeed his impact globally. It is also an acknowledgement of his links to France, where he spent a year studying. Indeed, in accepting the award, William began his speech in French and highlighted the important and formative nature of his time in France, where he was able to study theatre and witness the cosmopolitan nature of the French art scene.

Ambassador Barbier remarked on how happy she was to be giving the award to William Kentridge, given his standing in the art world and his reputation globally.

The award was part of the Embassy’s official celebration of Bastille Day at the Embassy residence in Pretoria, which will be followed by events in Johannesburg and Cape Town, hosted by the Consulates and several other events hosted by the Alliance Française network throughout South Africa.

Source: www.ifas.org.za / www.ambafrance-rsa.org

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