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Cultural Diplomacy


The cultural co-operation between South Africa and Italy is based on the following agreements.

  1. The Agreement on Cultural Co-operation signed in Cape Town on 13th March 2002 and ratified by both parties. The relevant Executive Programme is presently under review by the South African competent Department. The activities at stake are: exchanges of professors, experts in the tuition system and researchers; financing of lecturers in the Universities of Witwatersrand, Cape Town and Natal; exchange of teaching material; granting of scholarships; participation in cinema festivals and exchange of artists and exhibitions; co-operation and exchanges between archives administrations, libraries and academies; translation and publishing of major literature, scientific or artistic works, also through the participation to different awards; enhanced co-operation in the fields of archaeology, museums and restoration of the cultural heritage and fight against the illicit trade in cultural objects; co-operation between news agencies, press organisations and publishing houses; exchanges in the media sector; contacts between sport organisations and Olympic Committees; activities ensuring the full protection of human rights.
  2. The Agreement on Scientific and Technological Co-operation, signed in Cape Town on the 15thJanuary 1998 and ratified by both Parties. In December 2004 the relevant Executive Programme valid for the years 2005-2007 was renewed. This Programme enables the exchange of scientists between Italian and South African Universities and research centres. It also grants the financing of activities of joint research projects, especially those aimed at the formation and training of new researchers. The two Parties are financing up to 28 joint projects in the fields of agriculture, environment and biotechnology, ITT, medicine and health, chemistry and physics, nano-science and advanced materials. Furthermore, 4 projects of great relevance are unilaterally being financed under the special cover of the Italian law 401/’90 in the fields of medicine and biotechnologies. In previous years the collaboration between the two countries undertaken in this regard has brought forward and successfully carried out many more projects, among which 9 projects of great relevance and exchanges of 42 researchers.
  3. On the 13thof November 2003 a Cinematographic Co-production Agreement was signed between Italy and South Africa, but it is also applicable to citizens of the European Union and the Southern African Development Community Region. The text provides the rules and standards to be met in order to consider as a national film by both Parties every co-production carried out under the agreement.

Various cultural activities are regularly being performed in South Africa by the Embassy in Pretoria, the Italian Institute of Culture in Pretoria (IIC), the Consulate General in Johannesburg and the Consulates in Durban and in Cape Town.
The Embassy of Italy in Pretoria concentrates cultural events in an Italian Festival, organised toghether with the Italian Trade Mission of Johannesburg (ICE) and the local Italian companies in the month of June. The Embassy of Italy in Pretoria, in collaboration with the Italian Institute of Culture have also organised and promoted a tour of opera singers from the Arena of Verona, with concerts held in Pretoria (Aula, University of Pretoria), Cape Town (Baxter Theatre) and Durban (City hall) during the month of June 2005, to be repeated in June 2006.
As for the Visual Arts, the Embassy of italy and the Italian Institute of Culture have organised an exhibition of works by the prominent Italian painter Domenico Purificato, which has taken place also in June at the Pretoria Art Museum.
In 2006 it is foreseen to display an exhibition of videos realised by young artistis
More concerts, conferences and minor initiatives are as well in the organising phase.
Every year Italy participates in the Sithengi Film Festival in Cape Town with an Italian film section and in the Durban International Film Festival. Italy also takes part in the European Union Film Festival, that screens films from the member states. The event takes place in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.
In 2005 the Italian Institute of Culture has invited Professor Rubbia to participate in the International Congress on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the foundation of the South African Institute of Physics, from the 4th to the 7th July at the University of Pretoria. Prof. Rubbia has then taken part to other conferences throughout the country.

Since 2001, during the month of September, an entire week has been dedicated to the promotion of the Italian language, with the participation of prominent Italian scholars as well as members of the Italian Studies Sections of the South African Universities. The Italian Institute of Culture organizes Italian language courses open to the public. The courses are run in two sessions and include classes from an Elementary level to Advanced. The IIC also offers Conversation classes to people who wish to practice the Italian language. The courses are held by a professional language teacher from Italy. More courses are held by the Associazione Dante Alighieri in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. Italian courses are also held at tertiary level by the Universities of South Africa, of Witswatersrand, Cape Town and KwaZulu Natal, thanks to the help of the Italian Government to the hiring of local lecturers. A weekly journal in Italian “La Voce” and a TV transmission “Panorama Italiano” are regularly published and broadcasted in Johannesburg.


For further enquiries concerning language courses or scholarships:

Italian Institute of Culture
Director:  Dr. Claudio D’Agostini
803 George Avenue
Arcadia  0083
P.O. Box 26010, Arcadia, 0007
Tel +27-12-3420010
Fax +27-12-3420057

Opening Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday mornings:  9:30 am – 12 pm
Monday & Thursday afternoon:  2 – 4 pm
Wednesday:  closed to the public, but private appointments may be made beforehand