Pro Helvetia Johannesburg
The Liaison Office of the Swiss Arts Council in Southern Africa
Pro Helvetia Johannesburg, renamed as such since we moved from Cape Town to Johannesburg in February 2012, is one of the Pro Helvetia representations abroad, set up at the beginning of 1998, and the second base on the African continent besides Cairo. Although Pro Helvetia Johannesburg has its office in the bustling Braamfontein precinct in Johannesburg, it is set up with the characteristics of a mobile office to cover the whole of Southern Africa.
Pro Helvetia Johannesburg reaches out to most countries in the Southern African region, coordinating projects not only in South Africa but also, primarily, in Mozambique and Zimbabwe and more occasionally in Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi and Angola. Fostering cultural interaction between these countries and Switzerland is one of Pro Helvetia’s priorities.
Through an agreement with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in Pretoria, the office in Johannesburg also supports local capacity building and encourages cultural interaction between Southern African countries. The activities granted support are regional cross-border projects initiated by arts organisations, with a focus on either advocacy or mentoring.
For the period 2011-2014, these activities focus primarily on collaboration between Southern African partners. In the SDC context, Southern African countries include Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. A small amount of funding remains available for supporting the distribution of arts projects within the region.
Our current strategy is defined around a focus on the Performing Arts, Music and the Visual Arts, and to a lesser degree Literature. We also focus on new collaborative initiatives in arts mediation (arts education), and finally on the rich mutual residency programme between Switzerland and the region, with shorter Research Residencies and longer Studio Residencies available.