Ambassador Farnaud visits Durban
On Wednesday 26 April, Ambassador Farnaud met with Vasu Gaunden, Executive Director of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), met with French shipping container company CMA-CGM and undertook a guided tour of the Port of Durban.
On Thursday 27 April, he was honoured to meet with Ela Gandhi and to meet with the Executive Mayor of eThekwini, Zandile Gumede, on Friday 28 April 2017.
French is taught at several institutions in KwaZulu-Natal – reaching 4 000 students in total - including the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), the Durban University of Technology (DUT), the Coastal TVET College and thirty schools offering French as a subject at high school level.
The Alliance Francaise has two branches in the province, one in Durban and one in Pietermaritzburg, offering French language classes to almost 800 registered students.
On 25 April, Ambassador Farnaud visited Eden College in Durban with Principal Chris Marcellin. He had the occasion to meet with pupils of the French class where they shared their experience and their vision of France with the Ambassador. There are around 500 students in this college, 65 of whom learn French.
On the occasion of the visit, Ambassador Farnaud bestowed upon French teacher Ann Lüssi the distinction of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques in recognition of her role for the promotion of the French language at a provincial and national level. Ann Lüssi has been teaching French at Eden College since 2007. She has played a key role in the training of French high school teachers in KwaZulu-Natal.
In his speech, Ambassador Farnaud said: “This award is recognition for your hard work promoting French language and culture and for your most recent achievement for the benefit of French, and for the cooperation between our two countries: the partnership “Kwazulu-Loire”. Indeed, you are one of the teachers who initiated this partnership between the Association of French Teachers of KwaZulu-Natal and the Local Education Authorities of the Region of Pays de la Loire in 2011.”
Barney Mthembu, Deputy Director General of the Department of Basic Education of KwaZulu-Natal, also attended the ceremony.
The Ordre des Palmes académiques is a national order of France for distinguished academics and figures in culture and education.
On the evening of 25 April, a cocktail reception was held at the Alliance Française de Durban with local partners and members of the French community.
On this occasion, Ambassador Farnaud bestowed the distinction of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres upon Liliane Loots, a contemporary South African dance choreographer. Liliane Loots, who has a Master’s Degree in Gender Studies, is most well-known for being the Artistic Director of the Flatfoot Dance Company since 1995, the Artistic Director of Jomba! Contemporary Dance Festival since 1998 and a dance and performance studies lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She also runs the longest surviving professional dance company in Durban. Liliane Loots was of invaluable help during the French and South African reciprocal Seasons in 2012 and 2013. The French Institute in South Africa as well as the Alliance Française de Durban are proud to partner again with the festival this year.
Ambassador Farnaud: ‘We have huge opportunities of cooperation between France and South Africa, it is up to us to make them a reality” (…) “ you can be very proud of the vast amount of dance development and dance education work that you have been running actively, here, in both rural and urban areas of KwaZulu-Natal.”
Deputy Mayor of eThekwini, Fawzia Peer, attended the reception.
The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres recognises significant contributions to the arts, literature, or the propagation of these fields.
Major French companies are established in KwaZulu-Natal. Among others, La Poste Group is based in Pietermaritzburg with Time Freight. Logistics include the shipping company CMA-CGM, based in Durban, as well as Bolloré. Other sectors covered are packaging (Afripack), power, construction, agribusiness and industry. The French group Veolia is part of a partnership with the city of eThekwini through Durban Water Recycling which supplies Mondi with recycled water in Merebank.
On 26 April, the Ambassador met with Christophe Colloc and Vitesh Ramphal, from the French shipping container company CMA-CGM. CMA-CGM employs around 115 people in South Africa and is the fourth biggest ship-owner in South Africa in terms of volume.
The Ambassador then visited the Port of Durban. It allowed him to meet Transnet officials including the Port manager, Moshe Motlohi, and the General Manager National Planning at Transnet Port Terminals, Michelle Phillips.
On 25 April, Ambassador Farnaud visited Kings Park Stadium, met Cell C Sharks CEO and former Springbok rugby captain Gary Teichmann and French rugby player Clément Poitrenaud, who joined the team earlier this year.
This meeting was the opportunity to discuss sports diplomacy and ways to strengthen links between France and South Africa through sports.
During his visit in Durban Ambassador Farnaud met with Vasu Gounden, Executive Director of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), with Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, who took him to Phoenix Settlement, where Mahatma Gandhi lived and developed his philosophy, and with the Executive Mayor of eThekwini, Zandile Gumede.