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

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

Launch of Inside Out by Mark Lewis and Tanya Zack

Book 3 of a Series of 10

fourthwall books inside out 2

In Inside Out, writer and urban planner Tanya Zack and photographer Mark Lewis trace a story of low-end globalisation—of food and other commodities traded and retailed informally across South Africa’s borders by people using the same principles as multinationals, but with no formal credit or banking facilities. They also discover the stories of entrepreneurs like Senga Mutombo.

Senga Mutombo led her seven Congolese brothers to Johannesburg. She is now a regular trader in the Yeoville market but also, in her own way, the centre of a trade network that spans sub-Saharan Africa in a lattice of low-end globalisation. Creams, oils, beans, fish and spices trickle through this network everyday, carried across borders in trucks or in bags on the backs of traders, to serve the needs of a migrant arrival city. Senga’s micro-scale business is embedded in deep international trajectories in the city, but her daily life is one of unending labour and of being forever reminded of her status as an asylum seeker.

Review by Laurice Taitz published in the Mail & Guardian online

"Etching Jo'burg's pathways: Book series unveils the city's hidden stories... A look at a series of books by two authors who mission onto the streets of Johannesburg to discover the vibrancy that makes the city a home for many.

Everybody has their city limits, travelling routes that become well-worn grooves in the map. Maybe it’s that way in all cities; maybe not. We grow accustomed to tracing the same paths, yearning for familiarity.

But our paths through the city are as much defined by that desire to affirm what we already know as they are intricately arranged by economies that draw us to the paths we think we choose.

To travel a city like Jo’burg freely, with its spaces so clearly demarcated, is often transgressive and is also brave. And lately that idea of travelling the city has been corrupted by marketing campaigns for public events that implore one to “take back the city”, as if the city is there for the taking, either virgin territory unconquered and waiting to be possessed or a place to be wrested from someone else’s control. It is as if to travel the city out of curiosity you need a licence.

Click here for more.

fourthwall books inside out 6  

Inside Out is published by Fourthwall Books with the support of the French Institute of South Africa.

Inside Out
Book 3 of 10
44 pages, full color
Includes French translation
ISBN 978-0-9922263-7-4
1st edition of 300


Books - Events & News

  • Events and News

    Dibuka - the francophone multimedia library of Johannesburg

    Dibuka is a multi-media library focussing on France and contemporary francophone culture, the result of a partnership between the French Embassy in South Africa, the French Institute of South Africa and the Alliance française of Johannesburg.The library offers to the general public almost 20 000… Read more
  • Nicolas Fargue
    Events and News

    French writer Nicolas Fargues invited at the Franschhoek Literary Festival from 18 to 20 May

    Nicolas Fargues is the guest French writer of the Franschhoek literary festival this year from 19 to 20 May. He is then invited by the French embassy to make a tour in 3 universities to meet the students of French language & francophone literature, from 21 to 25 May: UCT, UKZN, WITS. Biography… Read more
  • open book banner
    Events and News

    Open Book Festival Cape Town | 6-10 Sept

    Open Book Festival at The Fugard Theatre is an annual literary festival, the first of which happened in 2011. The hubs will once again be the Fugard Theatre, The District 6 Museum Homecoming Centre and much-loved indie bookshop, The Book Lounge. The French Institute of South Africa (IFAS), the… 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