Newsletter 12/11

Danielle Mitterrand passed away

Former first lady of France Danielle Mitterrand, widow of French President François Mitterrand, passed away on 22nd of November. She has been a contributor of the success of Dakar's meetings in the 80's. These meetings were preparing the transition post-apartheid.

On the 7th of June 1990 in Paris she hosted Nelson Mandela at her foundation “France Libertés”. Danielle Mitterrand was still very closed from Nelson Mandela until her death.

The United Nations 2011 Report on Human Development emphasizes the very strong link between the deteriorating environment and poverty

Since 1990, the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) has published an annual report on human development.

It is based on the Human Development Index (HDI) that measures the level of development achieved by every State in the major areas of health, education and the standard of living.

The report that was released on 2 November 2011 is entitled “Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All”. It is an important reference tool for States classified according to international human development indicators.

This year, it highlights the growing inequalities and the climatic changes that seriously undermine development.

These are the challenges facing, notably, France and South Africa, which are classified as 20th and 123rd respectively among the 187 countries that are compared with each other.

South Africa is organizing the fifth IBSA Dialogue Forum

South Africa, together with India and Brazil, forms part of the group known by the acronym IBSA.

These three leading democracies share common viewpoints at the international conferences.

Attended by the South African President, Jacob Zuma, the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, and the Indian Prime Minister, Mammohan Singh, the fifth IBSA summit was held in Pretoria on 18 October 2011, on the eve of the G20 held in Cannes on 3 and 4 November under the French presidency.

South African artists used colour 100,000 years ago

A painting “studio” that goes back to 100,000 years has been discovered in the Blombos Cave, east of Cape Town, by an international team of researchers connected to the University of Witwatersrand (Johannesburg), led by Professor Christopher Henshilwood. Objects found in this “studio”, bones, charcoal and shells containing ochre pigments, confirm the existence of a very ancient use of colour by Homo Sapiens in Africa.

South Africa is therefore one of the oldest centres of artistic life in the world (Henshilwood et al., in “Science”, 14 October 2011).

South Africa, the cradle of a two million year old Australopithecus close to the Homo genus

According to the French paleoanthropologist, Pascal Picq, member of the Collège de France, the discovery in August 2008 in the region of Malapa near Johannesburg, presented in the September 2011 issue of the journal “Science”, of an Australopithecus that is nearly two million years old could drastically overturn previously acquired data.

The discovered fossils could, in consequence, be classified under the Homo genus. Modern man, born in Africa, would therefore be 100,000 years older compared to previous data that dated him to just 1.9 million years. A story to follow …

Protection of women with hearing disabilities in South Africa

On 7 November, the French Cinémathèque invited the choreographer Robyn Orlin and the photographer Jürgen Schadeberg, author of the 1988 documentary entitled “Have you seen drum recently?” to evoke the famous magazine “Drum”, a multiracial and anti-apartheid magazine, which was created in 1952.

A cultural reference for the new South Africa and a messenger hope. The singer Miriam Makeba was one of its icons.

Le magazine « Drum » à l'honneur à Paris

La cinémathèque française a invité, le 7 novembre 2011, la chorégraphe Robyn Orlin et le photographe Jürgen Schadeberg auteur en 1988 du documentaire « Have you seen drum recently », pour évoquer le célèbre magazine « Drum », revue multiraciale, engagée contre l'apartheid, qui avait été créée en 1952.

Une référence culturelle pour la nouvelle Afrique du Sud, porteuse d'espoir. La chanteuse Miriam Makeba en fut l'une des icônes.

The Africa at “Paris Photo”

The annual exhibition “Paris Photo”, held at the Grand Palais in Paris from 10 to 13 November, presented photographs originating from the Recontres de Bamako that are taking place in Mali until 1st January 2012.

Four South African galleries came to Paris for this occasion: Bailey Seippel, Gallery Momo, Goodman Gallery and Gallery Stevenson.

A South African show by Steven Cohen in Paris

The show “Cradle of Humankind” by Steven Cohen hit the headlines of the cultural pages of the newspaper Le Monde (issue of 28 October 2011), under the heading “the man who wanted to be undressed”. It was performed at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, before moving to Bern and Milan. A splendid extravaganza served by immense talent.

Tribute, in France, to Sarah Baartman, “Hottentot Venus”

Further choreographic shows pay tribute to Sarah Baartman, a South African slave brought in Europe and exhibited, two centuries ago, in England and France.

She died in Paris in 1815, her mortal remains have been sent back to South Africa in 2002.

« … Have you hugged and respected your brown Venus today ? », de Robyn Orlin.

Festival d'automne. Cent quatre, 104 rue d'Aubervilliers, Paris 19ème. 26 November, 20 h 30 and 27 November 17 h. Then in Théâtre de la Ville, place du Châtelet, Paris 4ème, from 30 November to 3 December.

« A freak Show for S. » d'Annabel Guérédrat

Festival La Mangrove, Théâtre du gymnase, Marseille 1 Tél.: 04 42 47 00 18. 17 December, 17 h.

« On t'appelle Vénus », de Chantal Loial.

25 November, 20 h 30. Centre Dunois, 61, rue Dunois, Paris 13e. 17 December, 17 h, Théâtre du Gymnase. Tél.: 08 20 00 04 22.

Vénus & Hottentote, de Carole Sandrel Éditions Perrin. 168 p., 18 €.

Cross-examination: From UNO to NATO: The military intervention in Libya

A “just war” or just a war ? A debate between Bernard-Henri Lévy philosopher and Rony Brauman, doctor. See into Le Monde (25 November 2011).