In a vibrant celebration of cultural exchange and artistic innovation, South Africa will take France by storm at the Création Africa Forum in Paris this October. Around 100 South African artists and cultural practitioners will descend upon France, showcasing the richness of contemporary and digital art, dance, music, cinema, series, video games, and fashion. This collaborative endeavor marks a significant milestone, ten years after the successful Saison croisées France & South Africa initiative, reinforcing the enduring bond between the two nations.
“It is exciting to witness around 100 South African artists and cultural practitioners make their way to France in the name of intercontinental dialogue and showcase. It is a testament to the role that cultural and creative industries have played in developing and maintaining the relationship between the two countries,” says Mr David Martinon, Ambassador of France to South Africa. A substantial number of diverse players and contexts in the creative and cultural ecosystem that can be divided into three parts will engage in various creative projects and exchange cultural ideas as a way to demonstrate this objective.
The Creation Africa Forum in Paris, taking place from 6 to 8 October 2023, will welcome more than 200 cultural and creative professionals from Africa, providing them opportunities to create and network. This includes South African creatives, who have been invited to France with the support of the Institut français d’Afrique du Sud (IFAS) / French Institut of South Africa, Business France, and Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct. The events will be active for the duration of October in Paris and Montpellier.
The Création Africa Forum in Paris
It is all in the numbers: around 40 South African delegates from the cultural and creative industries, six artworks, one keynote, one booth, and one series screening will form part of the Creation Africa Forum coordinated by France.
Event: Creation Africa Forum
Date: 6 – 8 October 2023
Sector: Cultural and Creative Industries
Supported by the Institut français d’Afrique du Sud (IFAS) / French Institute of South Africa
In July 2022, the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, announced the establishment of Création Africa. The Forum is centered around the cultural and creative industries and is set to be a place for intercontinental gathering, creation, information, innovation, and discovery. The inaugural forum is organised with the support of the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, in partnership with the French Development Agency, Business France, French Public Investment Bank (Bpifrance), and Institut français Paris.
South Africa presents digital and immersive artworks specifically commissioned for the Creation Africa Forum: The first artwork is an immersive digital installation titled Kwasukasukela – In the Beginning, by artists Xabiso Vili and Inka Kendzia. Other works include new works by Moratiwa Molema (Botswana) and Shmerah Passhier and previously produced works by Sonwabo Valashiya, Nirma Madhoo, Rick Treweek, Ree Trewee, Shariffali and Yetende Dada. Several works are the fruits of the Digital Lab Africa incubation programme driven by Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, IFAS, and AFD’s longstanding partnership.
South Africa delivers masterclasses/keynotes: The first is titled Enhancing Heritage Through Digital Entrepreneurship: the Case of Robben Island, looking at the work being done with Robben Island as a solution to safeguarding and increasing access to archives.
South Africa launches Digital Lab Africa (DLA) 7th Edition: As one of Africa’s first incubators dedicated to talents in digital art, DLA looks to fast-track its laureates through mentorship and sustained access to its ecosystem in France and Sub-Saharan Africa.
South Africa holds a series screening: Soon to be seen on the silver screen, the pilot for the Franco-South African co-created series Spinners will be premiered at Creation Africa Forum. For this screening, two of its cast members, Cantona James and Chelsea Thomas, will be present.
Immersive Experiences – Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 October
Kwasukasukela – “In the Beginning” by Xabiso Vili
2023 | South Africa | duration: 10′ | For all
Kwasukasukela is a Zulu term that, loosely translated, means “In the beginning”. In this particular projection mapping experience, Kwasukasukela is a contemporary African creation myth written by four South African poets. Using traditional storytelling and music techniques, the story borrows from Zulu spirituality. By creating a 360° installation, a traditional healer’s hut (also known as a “sangoma”) is reproduced, which the public is invited to enter for treatment.
Embark on an extraordinary odyssey, transcending the limits of time and space, into the enigmatic realm of one of South Africa’s most captivating mythical stories. Films such as these, which are an immersive journey harmoniously blending digital aesthetics and the long-standing traditional marks of South African heritage, are created to captivate and hypnotise the audience into a revolutionary outlook of life past and present.
INCREASED EXPOSURE | Gallery 1 – Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 October
Re/Member Your Descendants
2021 | South Africa | All public | In partnership with the Digital Lab Africa and the Cité internationale des arts
Through a series of interviews with South Africans, Xabiso Vili, in collaboration with Sonwabo Valashiya, seeks to embody a spiritual dimension in the physical world. Thanks to augmented reality, their stories are enriched, illustrated by those of their ancestors, declaimed in the form of poetry.
United by the same objective, that of encouraging the creation of innovative content and exchanges across the world, NewImages Festival, and the Digital Lab Africa launched in 2021 the first creation residency in Extended Reality (XR) in France for young artists from the African continent. During this one-month residency in Paris, the two South African artists Xabiso Vili (poet) and Sonwabo Valashiya (digital artist) developed a joint artistic and poetic project, Re/Member Your Descendants, which was presented exclusively at the occasion of the Africa Season 2020/NewImages Festival (Paris). The project has since been exhibited in France (Commune Image), Ecuador, and recently won an award at the last Fakugesi African Digital Innovation Festival.
Video Games – Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 October
Semblance – Nyamakop studio
2018 | South Africa | +7 years
Semblance is a postmodern platform game. The work takes place in a very colorful world with sleek minimalist graphics. The particularity of the title lies in its deformable environments, offering a real challenge to the player, who will have to use them to their advantage.
Terra Nile – Free Lives
2023 | South Africa | +7 years
Terra Nile is a complex environmental strategy game about transforming a barren land into a thriving and balanced ecosystem. Bring a lifeless world back to life by purifying the soil, cleaning the oceans, planting trees and reintroducing flora and fauna, then leave without a trace.
Virtual Reality – Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 October
444.2 – Nirma Madhoo
2022 | South Africa and Australia | duration: 16′
The first constellation of stars mapped by all the first observers in southern Africa thanks to an ancient astronomical practice combining geography and modern astrophysics located 444.2 light years from Earth. It was spotted by the Southern African Large Telescope. Immerse yourself in the starry, ghostly terrain of the Karoo, where a volumetric fashion performance unfolds. Costumed figures and particle bodies mingle and transform into a triptych combining African cosmology and the technological sublime, interior space, and exterior space.
The Cosmic Egg – Moratiwa Molema
2020 | South Africa | duration: 10′
The Cosmic Egg is a traditional dance from Botswana. It is an ancient and futuristic myth about an ostrich egg hunt, which gradually transforms into a tale about environmental protection. The cosmic egg features human-animal-spirit-machine-cyborg dancers who urge us to consider sustainable ecological practices today if we want to avoid paying the terrible price of the collective damage we are causing to the earth and to our environment.
Eye of Rre Mutwa – Shmerah Passchier
2020 | South Africa | duration: 10′
In this virtual reality science fiction experience, you will be teleported to a tiny African planet where you will take the form of a talking, breathing cyborg eye, directly inspired by the Zulu mythology of Credo Mutwa. At the center of this magical eye through which you can see everything in 360°, Albert Khoza embodies the beloved ancestor, healer, cultural icon, author and artist Credo Vusamazulu Mutuwa.
Atomu – Shariffa Ali, Yetunde Dada
2020 | South Africa, France, United Kingdom and United States | duration: 15′
Atomu revisits a myth from Kenya (the country in which Shariffa Ali was born) which evokes gender fluidity. According to this popular belief of the Kikuyu tribe, a man born in a woman’s body, and vice versa, can, by circling a baobab 7 times and performing certain ritualized dance movements, transform himself and change sex. Atomu thus tells the story of Wacici, a young man who does not feel like a boy. After being beaten by his father for refusing to do the tasks normally assigned to men in his village, he decides to do these 7 tricks to finally feel like himself.
Animation – Sunday 8 October
Indlela Yokuphila: The Soul’s Journey (isiZULU)
2023 | South Africa | duration: 6’36 | vostfr | For all
The short film “Indlela Yokuphila”, which means “the journey of the soul” in isiZulu, aims to make the intangible heritage of the oceans more tangible in governance and education, through animation and dialogue public, and to bring the sacred back into our conversations about the well-being of the oceans.
Marc Moynihan, Shells & Spells
Dylan McGarry, Empatheater and Rhodes University
The Sugarcane Man
2019 | South Africa | duration: 5′ | vostfr | +12 years
In the remote hills of Uganda, a 10-year-old boy named Akello walks down a dirt road while playing his homemade kalimba near a sugarcane field.
Leroy Le Roux