65th anniversary of the Alliance Française de Pretoria
The Alliance Française de Pretoria was founded in 1951 on the initiative of Francophone and Francophile South Africans.
Joel Karabo Elliott’s Roots Grown Deep performed during the celebration attended by members of the Alliance Française network in South Africa, the French community in Pretoria, francophiles and those who have played a role in the success of the Alliance Française de Pretoria over the years.
Ms. Xenia Ayiotis, President of the Alliance Française de Pretoria, Ms. Corinne Verdier, Director of the Alliance Française de Pretoria and Mr. Jean Bourdin, Délégué General of the Alliance Française network in Southern Africa, also attended the event.
Mr. Damien Guyard, Cooperation Attaché for French Language, said in his speech:
"The French Embassy has always given its unconditional support to the actions undertaken by the Alliance Française network because of their commitment to the promotion of French language & culture. I would like to take this opportunity to warmly thank the members of the committee of the Alliance Française of Pretoria for their dedication and hard work".
Roots Grown Deep is an Amer-African musical and cultural movement seeking the most resonant harmonies of human Diaspora and the simplest solutions to the illusion of poverty. The roots of this musical fusion are in New Orleans jazz, Limpopo indigenous rhythm and dance, and Appalachia folk, and the result is a passionate soul’s outcry of multiple languages, trances, and instrumental concepts, guided by a poetic message of conscious spiritual ascension. Roots Grown Deep is a hearkening to our human beginning and becoming, a music for ORIGINal life that is loved by children and adults alike.
The most recent release of Roots Grown Deep, a double album called Grow Within And You Shall Not Go Without, connects the landscapes of three rivers: the Limpopo of Southern Africa, the Colorado of the Grand Canyon, and the Bluefields of Jamaica. Grow Within features the musical voices of more than twenty South African and American artists, and the live performance ensemble is a pan-Afrikan collective featuring Msaki, Naftali, Stompie Selibe, Nono Nkoane, Ntando Basslyn, Nkoto Malebye, Nelius Nortje, Lantern Maleka, and Dennias Mashegwane.
History of the Alliance Française de Pretoria:
The Alliance Française de Pretoria was founded on 20 November 1951, and was lucky to be housed at the University of Pretoria, Extra-Mural Building, during that time.
It was in the 1970s that the Alliance Française de Pretoria had to find another home, due to rising demand and limited space. At first the Alliance made its way to the Libri Building on Church Street, and then Kudu Arcade, with the restaurant of a Mr Hulet.
It was at this stage that Mr Leon Theron, President of the time, decided to attempt a fundraising campaign to collect enough money to purchase a building. However, not enough was collected to buy a building. Nevertheless, M. Theron did manage to buy a plot of land in Sunnyside with the collected funds. The Alliance then moved to the first floor of the Old Netherland Bank Building in Church Square, but space was getting too small for the classes.
On the 4th of March 1985, with a donation from the French government and the sales of the plot of land purchased, the Alliance Française de Pretoria managed to purchase a house, designed by Sir Herbert Baker, located on 99 Rivier Street Sunnyside, from a Mrs Dorothy Joyce Agnes Loots. These premises allowed for the expansion of the classes the Alliance Française de Pretoria was able to offer, and became its permanent home. In 2007, the Alliance Française de Pretoria managed to again secure funds to expand their premises and the number of classes for an ever increasing number of students.
The Alliance Française de Pretoria wanted to celebrate a long history, 65 years, the 23rd November 2016. It was a celebration that saw 250 people enjoying food and music in true French style. Attending were a variety of embassies, institutions, members, students, teachers and friends of the Alliance Française de Pretoria, both new and old.
Source: Alliance Française de Pretoria