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"The Night Cleaner", a terrific investigation on the frontline of economic recession, is now available at Dibuka

In 2009, at the peak of economic recession in Europe, the well-known reporter Florence Aubenas ceased to send stories from Afghanistan, Iraq or Kosovo to her newspaper. Instead, she went looking for a job in Caen, a mid-sized city in Normandy. To employers and civil servants of the national employment agency, she presented a blank resume and a all-too-common story: she was a 40-something recently divorced ex-housewife, she had never worked but now needed to, since her ex-husband would not care for her any more. With no specific competences and no work experience, she was quickly oriented to the cleaning sector, an industry where employees pile up short-term contracts (a few hours a day, from one day to one month, never more) and perilously flirt with the minimum wage.

Cleaning holiday resorts, offices or ferries that bring British tourists to Normandy, she befriended people for whom a permanent job as a supermarket cashier is "prestigious", and a refuse collector is "well-paid". Aubenas resigns the day she is proposed a permanent contract - having said she would not want to block such a position. Despite her past adventures in war-zones, her story reveals how unprepared she was to be embattled on the front line of poverty in her home-country. "The Night Cleaner" is the story that results from her experience, a terrible yet fascinating book that lay bare the devastation of economic recession in Europe.

Books - Dibuka

  • DibuKids program

    Programme DibuKlub and DibuKids - February to June

    February - June 2019 Dibuka Francophone Multimedia Library at the Alliance Française of Johannesburg This year will be full of exciting events and activities at Dibuka. With movies twice a month on Wednesdays for adults; and storytime, films or activities twice a month on Saturdays for kids, there… Read more
  • 2018-DibukaFestival-facebook-2

    Dibuka Library Festival

    Not your ordinary book festival! 1 – 29 September 2018 Spring is coming! And with it, the Dibuka Library Festival, a new kind of book festival to celebrate Dibuka's new revamping and its 15th birthday. Dibuka Library Festival will run from the 1st to the 29th of September at the newly revamped… Read more
  • 2018-Dibuka-architecture-image

    Discover the new Dibuka

    The Embassy of France in South Africa, the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) and the Alliance Française of Johannesburg are proud to present the newly revamped francophone multimedia library, named after the Setswana word for "books": dibuka. Dibuka is today the biggest francophone multimedia… Read more

Opening Hours

Monday: closed
Tuesday - Wednesday:  
9.30 - 12.30 | 14.00 - 19.30
8.30 - 12.30 | 14.00 - 19.30
9.30 - 12.30 | 14.00 - 18.00
9.30 - 13.30


Tel. (+27) 11 646 1115
Fax. (+27) 11 646 1128

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