16 May 2012 – French, the language of high culture and international business was the focus point of an elegant decoration ceremony hosted by French Ambassador to South Africa, Jacques Lapouge, on the 9th of May 2012 at his Residence in Pretoria.
Altogether six prominent South African educational figures were awarded the insignia of the Knight of the French National Order of Academic Palms for their endeavours to promote French language and culture in South Africa. This medal, which was created by Emperor Napoleon to honour the most celebrated members of the University of Paris, rewards eminent academics, cultural and educational figures for their contributions to society.
Addressing an audience of 130 guests from the educational environment as well as friends and family, Ambassador Lapouge commended teachers of French Wendy Davis, Carla Gordon and Marylise Gordon for their efforts to popularise the French language among young South Africans and, ultimately, for opening the doors to the vast and exciting world of francophonie to their students. He reiterated the nobility of the teaching profession, which directly impacts upon the lives of the individuals and the communities that it serves.
Ambassador Lapouge also conveyed his appreciation and that of the French government to Rachel Morake, Pumla Mabilo and Matsimela Kgole, who have facilitated the growth of the teaching of French in South African schools and in the South African civil service through their respective functions as director of the South African Diplomatic Academy, headmistress and headmaster of South African public high schools. He noted the continued relevance and importance of the French language in the practice of diplomacy, national and international government and relations with francophone African neighbours.
The occasion, Ambassador Lapouge remarked, enjoys particular significance for the French Embassy as it precedes two milestone events on the Franco-South African calendar, namely the World Conference of Teacher of French which will take place in Durban from 23 to 27 July 2012 and the French Season in South Africa from June to November 2012.
For further information on the French Season in South Africa, please visit the article