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

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

Parts of celeb French writer Michel Houellebecq's work translated in Afrikaans

A new book presents the translation into Afrikaans of a selection of eighty poems by Michel Houellebecq, along with two essays. Published by Hond, the translation was done by Catherine du Toit, a lecturer the University of Stellenbosch, and her French third year students; constituting both a literary and an educational linked to present and future research possibilities. Arguably the most famous French writer alive, Michel Houellebecq is a complex artist – ambiguous, ironic, multifaceted. On the one hand his work is cutting, cruel, sexually explicit, abject. On the other hand, he writes with rare compassion, intimate and attentive to the suffering of the aged, the fragile, the imperfect, the vanquished.

Houellebecq is mainly famous for his novels - "Whatever", "The Elementary Particles", "Platform"... His poetry has remained little known across the world although he himself regards it as seminal and an integral part of his work. The poems are often characterized by an absence where emotion springs from ellipsis. Thus, in the infinite mobilisation of our lives, there are moments of immobility that mark a suspension, a floating, an uncertainty; a pause that invites the aesthetic possibility. A quiet revolution in which we can live again. Lesser recognition also applies to his essays of which few translations exist, even though they contain essential elements of his thinking. With this Afrikaans translation of eighty poems and two essays by Houellebecq, the authors hope thus to enhance further comprehension of the artist's singular creativity with a larger public.

Michel Houellebecq: "Tagtig Gedigte en Twee Essays" (Hond publishers) - Book launch: Friday 30 November 2012, 18:00 at the Sasol Art Museum of Stellenbosch - This project is supported by the France-South Africa Seasons 2012&2013


Books - Events & News

  • 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
  • Dibuka

    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


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...

I'm a writer of the world

Patrick Chamoiseau with Nadine Gordimer during the French Season in South Africa

See video