A convergence of French and South African culture at VUT
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A convergence of French and South African culture at VUT

DJ Zinhle on the decks

Owen Talane and Puleng Maphisa

The French South African Schneider Electric Education Centre (F’SASEC) in partnership with the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) hosted the third annual French Day on 16 May at VUT’s Vanderbijlpark Campus.  Students and staff came together to celebrate the occasion which was themed “Convergence of the French and South African Cultures.” Locally and Internationally recognisable brands such as Renault, Citroen and Peugeot Vaal, Schneider Electric, Campus France and VUT Science and Technology Park attended the event to showcase their productions.

The celebrations which took place throughout the day at different venues on the VUT campus had scores of people attending and celebrating the wide array of cultural diversity on display. French Day aims to promote a sustainable relationship between France and South Africa with interactive activities ranging from Science and Technology and hospitality to arts and culture.

Guests gathered at the Desmond Tutu Great Hall from 9 am where the melodic sounds of the VUT choir welcomed everyone. To get the programme running, a short presentation on the opportunities available for students to study in France through scholarships was done.

In what was classified as “the biggest French class in South Africa” (which was targeting a number of 500 people but successfully managed to gain 520) the audience was given a crash course on the famous “language of love.” The French class lesson was themed “French Class for Lovers,” sponsored by French TV channel TV5 Monde, AF Vanderbijlpark and F’SASEC. Through this class, the audience learnt a few language tips and sentences they could use when courting someone they like.

After the French lessons, they were treated to a traditional Zulu dance by VUT’s very own popular dance group, Ubuhle Buka Zulu. This was followed by an amazing fashion show with over a 1000 people attending at the Bodutu Art Gallery. Third-year and B-Tech fashion design students showcased their talents with exquisite garments under the theme “French Flair”. One of the designers to participate was Michalene de la Porte, a 2016 Bernina winner with her Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat-inspired creation.

In the field of hospitality, students brought out their best culinary skills by preparing tasty meals in a cook-off that saw Happiness Mkhabela being declared winner with her crumbed mushrooms and tartar sauce. Among the judges was VUT alumni and Miss Africa 2018, Vinola Mabele.

The celebrations closed off with a bang, as famous South African pop culture DJ and TV personality DJ Zinhle performed at the amphitheatre which was filled to capacity as a crowd of more than 5000 was in attendance. There was no available sitting or standing space by the time she graced the stage as everyone waited in anticipation for her performance – and, as expected she blew the crowd away.

Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat by Michalene de la Porte

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