EuropeWeeks 2017: The month of May is an established time where the EU and Member State Embassies and institutes showcase a number of their finest cultural events in South Africa.


Using the motto ‘Let’s culture together’, we celebrate cultural diversity, while presenting outstanding music, literature, art, cinema and more from and with the European continent to South Africa.

EuropeWeeks kicked off with the official opening of the EU Film Festival, a well-established event on the South African Festival scene and absolute must for cinema lovers. This year, twelve country entries, with genres ranging from comedy, to drama, a children’s movie and documentary films will reflect on Europe’s culture, history and society. Cinema Nouveau is this year again hosting the Festival in its theatres in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban. The fourth edition of this carefully curated festival includes gems such as the German submission to the Oscars as best foreign language film and a remdition of the Spanish childrens’ classic ‘Zip & Zap’. With the Drama ‘The High Sun’, and the documentary ‘Queen of Ireland’, Croatia and Ireland will be represented for the first time at the Festival. Don’t miss out and visit www.eurofilmfest.co.za for details and tickets (running in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria until 14 May).

The 2017 EuropeWeeks also see a strong emphasis on activities geared towards youth and young people, for example Finland’s extraordinary tour through different South African cities under the CodeBus Africa Initiative. The CodeBus celebrates the centenary of Finland’s independence by presenting creative coding workshops to young people, especially girls. The Africa tour of this creative technology project will culminate in Cape Town with a big centenary celebration of Finland’s independence. More information is available here: http://finland100africa.fi/

In a year that marks 60 years of the European Union, 30 years of Erasmus and 10 years of the Strategic Partnership Agreement between the EU and South Africa, the EU Delegation is bringing music and entertainment to Pretoria’s city centre. Using Europe Day on 9 May as the occasion, old and young are invited to a celebration of EU-South Africa friendship, with inner city musicians from various backgrounds being given the opportunity to show off their talent and celebrate over 30 years of EU-South Africa cooperation together.

The focus on youth and young people continues through the involvement of several EU countries in the 2017 ASSITEJ Festival through various productions presented at the International Festival of Theatre for Children and Young people. This includes the Goethe Institute, the Government of Flanders, the Institut Français Afrique du Sud, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands with productions such as ‘Maloza the Man Club’, a theatre performance by acting company La Baracca of Bologna. The ASSITEJ Festival (http://www.assitej2017.org.za/) is taking place from 16 – 27 May.

Several events presented by the French Institute of South Africa IFAS will be taking place to provoke critical reflection and discussion around how we experience and experiment the city (Experimenting/Experiencing the City from 11 – 22 May).  The series of events aims at tackling questions such as the use – and definition – of public space or public art. As part of these events, which are taking place across several cities, a film festival is planned at the Bioscope under the theme ‘Screening the City’. Further events include a photo exhibition for the launch of the popular annual publication ‘This is Joburg!’ as well as various discussions and presentations, such as one at the University of the Witwatersrand on ‘Examining the Concept of Spatial Justice in Contemporary Cities: Definitions, Scales, Contexts’. The full programme is available here: http://www.ifas.org.za/research/pdf/2017-City-programme-web.pdf

If you are a friend of literature, don’t miss out on the events the Goethe Institut and Istituto Istaliano di Cultura are presenting in May. As part of a series of talks that take place between South African and other writers, the Literary Crossroads event on 16 May will host writers and journalists Imraan Coovadia & Abubakar Adam Ibrahim for a discussion round. More on the Literary Crossroads programme: https://www.goethe.de/ins/za/en/kul/sup/lcr.html.

Then, reserve the 18th of May for a conference, lecture and literary reading of the the famous short story “Lontano” by Luigi Pirandello at the Dante Aligheri Society in Johannesburg. Follow the links to find more information on the conference ‘The Sicily of others’, and workshop ‘Sicilian stereotypes’.

Mid-month presents the opportunity to discuss the close links between culture and child development at a presentation and discussion with internationally acclaimed choreographer Dalija Acin Thelander from Sweden, who will introduce her choreographic practice and performances for babies. The collaborative event is taking place on 15 May at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Find more information on the Facebook site of the Embassy of Sweden.

Towards the end of May, EuropeWeeks will conclude as it began – with several film screenings in Johannesburg, which speak to incisive events in European history. First, on 25 May the Czech Republic will collaborate with the Holocaust and Genocide Centre in Johannesburg to commemorate the tragic destruction of the Czech village Lidice in 1942. Come to the Centre at 18:30 for a joint exhibition as well as screening of the film ‘Lidice’. Last, but not least, the Goethe Institute will show the German film Goodbye Lenin. Though a little older than 10 years, this Golden Globe winning account dealing with the German reunification is already considered a classic by many. Information on how to register is available on the Goethe Institut’s website.


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