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

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

One of the very first maps of South Africa on unique display in Cape Town

Set in the Iziko South African Museum of Cape Town, an exhibition dedicated to French explorer and cartographer François Le Vaillant foregrounds the man's multi-dimensional legacy as naturalist and social critic. Recognised as the first significant modern ornithologist, François le Vaillant spent the years 1781 to 1784 in southern Africa. He created a window on the region through his writings, watercolours and maps that vividly depict both nature and human interaction at that time.

A unique map of South Africa produced 222 years ago for King Louis the XVI and never before exhibited will form the centre-piece of this exhibition called "François Le Vaillant in southern Africa 1781 – 1784". Other very rare and valuable works by Le Vaillant will be displayed, including a major selection of watercolours held by the South African Parliament, original bird illustrations for "Oiseaux d'Afrique" and elephant folio versions of his bird books illustrated by Barraband from the Brenthurst Library. Very complete, this exhibition allows visitors to explore Le Vaillant’s world and his legacy which still resonates 200 years later.

Iziko Museums has its own special connection to the life of Le Vaillant at the Cape. One of its museums, Rust en Vreugd, a splendid late 18th century town house in Buitenkant Street, Cape Town, once provided accommodation for Le Vaillant and it was here that for a time he catalogued his collections of natural history; and from here that he left on expeditions into the then mysterious interior of the country.

"François Le Vaillant in southern Africa 1781 – 1784" - Location: Iziko South African Museum in Cape Town, 25 Queen Victoria street - From November 29, 2012 to May 26, 2013 - This event organised is as part of the France-South Africa Seasons 2012 & 2013


Arts & Culture - Exhibitions & Workshops

  • InsideOutSoweto Banner
    Exhibitions & Workshops

    Inside Out Soweto - A street art project

    A STREET ART PROJECT “Can art change the world?Maybe we should change the question:can art change people's lives?” - JR On March 2, 2011, JR, French artist, won the TED prize at the TED Conference in Long Beach, California, and called for the creation of a global participatory art project with the… Read more
  • Exhibitions & Workshops

    Five Photographers. A tribute to David Goldblatt

    David Goldblatt, South Africa's iconic documentary photographer has devoted his photography career to observe and document his country for over 60 years.Globally known, respected and acclaimed for his work, Goldblatt has chosen four photographers from the region whose work he admires, to be… Read more
  • 2016 JAG expo Medium
    Exhibitions & Workshops

    OPENING: The Evidence of Things Not Seen - 19th November at the Johannesburg Art Gallery

    The Evidence of Things Not Seen, a reference in part to James Baldwin's book of the same title, speaks to the intangible but pervasive nature of identity. Using works from the JAG collection exclusively by artists of colour, the exhibition explores various forms of identity and explores issues of… Read more

Follow us:


Join the Culture Newsletter


Tel. (+27) 11 403 0458
Fax. (+27) 11 403 0465