• Welcome to the website of the French Institute of South Africa!

  • Bienvenue sur le site de l'Institut Français d'Afrique du Sud !

"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

  • Dibuka

    Dibuka is revamping!

    Dibuka is revamping! Due to a delay in the renovation work, Dibuka will only re-open on the 18th of August 2018.We apologies for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. In the framework of its 15th anniversary, Dibuka is closed for renovation from the 16th of July 2018 to the 2nd of… Read more
  • donation-biblionef-RATP-201

    Dibuka receives books from the Fondation RATP and the Biblionef association

    Thanks to the Fondation RATP, also known as the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens which is a state-owned public transport operator headquartered in Paris, France, the Biblionef association, a book donation non-profit organisation based in France and the French Institute of South Africa, Media… Read more
  • Dibuka

    The Rentrée Littéraire Comes to Dibuka!

    Discover a selection of books from the Rentrée Litteraire at Dibuka Library, the multimedia portal to French culture in Johannesburg. For the uninitiated the Rentrée Littérraire is the period of the year in France between August and November when publishing houses release most of their books as it… 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

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


According to your personal taste and interests, Frenchlinks helps you get in touch with the French speaking community and agencies in South Africa and Lesotho. Learn more...

Littératures africaines


Téléchargez le livret au format PDF en haute définition ou en basse définition