Ambassador Farnaud commemorates 138-year anniversary of the death of Prince Impérial, Louis Napoléon
Ambassador of France to South Africa, HE Christophe Farnaud, visited Pietermaritzburg from 2 to 4 June 2017 to participate in a ceremony commemorating the 138th anniversary of the death of Prince Impérial Louis Napoléon. On this occasion he also took part in the commemoration of the 21st anniversary of the establishment of La Route du Prince Impérial, Louis Napoléon.
Prince Impérial Louis Napoléon Bonaparte (1856-1879), only son of Napoléon III and Empress Eugénie of France, came to South Africa in March 1879 with the British reinforcements sent following the Isandlwana disaster during the Anglo-Zulu War.
Prince Impérial Louis Napoléon was killed in an ambush at uQweqwe, near Nqutu, on 1 June 1879, at the age of 23. On the first anniversary of his death in 1880, his mother Empress Eugénie came to South Africa to undertake a pilgrimage in her son’s footsteps. She spent a night vigil at the very spot, which is now marked as a monument to him.
Almost 120 years later, La Route du Prince Impérial, Louis Napoléon was launched on 1 June 1996.
The uQweqwe community living next to the Prince Impérial monument, has benefited substantially from this cultural tourism research development project since April 1995.
Every year, the Alliance Française of Pietermaritzburg and The French Presence in KwaZulu-Natal cultural tourism research development project organise a French Week to commemorate the death of the Prince Impérial and the establishment of the route.
Both associations play a valuable networking function in connecting France, Reunion Island and other Francophone countries with South Africa.
On Friday 2 June, the Embassy of France in South Africa, the French Institute, the Alliance Française of Pietermaritzburg and the Napoleon Foundation, Paris presented a concert at the Tatham Art Gallery to celebrate local talent and welcome Ambassador Farnaud and other international guests.
The evening started with the launch of the publication by Otterley Press of The French Prince: Tragedy to Transformation by Ms. Glenn Flanagan, followed by the award ceremony of Les Palmes Académiques to Ms. Heather Peel, Head of French at Hilton College for her contribution to the teaching of French.
A concert featured Sandile Mabaso, a celebrated opera singer from KwaZulu-Natal, the Sobantu Secondary School isiscathamiya performers, the Impisi Emnyama Zulu Dancers and the Chistlehurst Academics and Arts Dance group.
A memorial mass was held on 3 June 3 at 9.30am at the Allard House Chapel, KZN’s first Roman Catholic Church (built in 1852) performed in association with the memorial mass in the Imperial Chapel in Biarritz, France. Well-known choral leader Michael Lambert, will be directing the Scola Musicae Sanctae choir.
Ambassador Farnaud also visited Dundee along the Prince Impérial Route and met with the French Augustinian Sisters in Pomeroy.
On 4 June, Ambassador Farnaud visited the Jojosini Primary School in the community where the monument is situated. On this day, 138 years after the death of Prince Impérial Louis Napoléon, Ambassador Farnaud laid a wreath at the Prince Impérial memorial.
- For more information, visit the Facebook page of French Presence in KZN: La Route du Prince Impérial, Louis Napoléon.