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The South African minister of trade and industry Rob Davis was present at the event.
Over 800 artists are showcasing the country’s vibrant diversity in hundreds of projects across France between May and December.
“We are most excited to launch the South African Season, which is a result of a bilateral agreement that aims to strengthen people-to-people relations between France and South Africa,” arts and culture minister Paul Mashatile said at Tuesday’s opening event.
The event was announced during President Jacob Zuma’s state visit to France in March 2011.
Two hundred and forty projects have been planned across 100 French cities in collaboration with French companies.
The Eiffel tower will stay lit in the South African colours for a week and will again be similarly lit for Youth Day on June 16 and then for two days in the build-up to Mandela’s birthday and Mandela Day on July 18.