Thomson and Maqoma honoured by French government

Gregory Vuyani Maqoma of Vuyani Dance Theatre, the French Ambassador Christophe Farnaud, and Georgina Thomson of Dance Umbrella at the award ceremony.


Georgina Thomson, Dance Umbrella artistic director, and Vuyani Dance Theatre’s Gregory Vuyani Maqoma have added more awards to their trophy cabinets.

At a ceremony at the French Embassy in Pretoria last week, the Dance Umbrella artistic director received the French Order of Arts and Letters medal from the French Ambassador, Christophe Farnaud, to honour her for the tireless promotion of artistic and cultural exchanges between South Africa and France.

Georgina Thompson of Dance Umbrella and Gregory Vuyani Maqoma of Vuyani Dance Theatre proudly sport the medals awarded to them.

Farnaud also awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of the Arts and Literature) to Maqoma.

The ceremony recognised the contributions to the contemporary dance sector of both Thomson and Maqoma, as they were added to The Order of Arts and Literature. This French decoration of honour, established in 1957 by the French Ministry of Culture, recognises individuals who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts and who have made significant contributions to the arts and/or literature in France and throughout the world.

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“Georgina Thomson is one of the most well-known and highly respected South African arts administrators in this country and abroad. And thanks to her, artistic and cultural exchanges between South Africa and France have gone from strength to strength,” said Farnaud.

A champion of contemporary dance and a woman of many achievements, Thomson has other awards under her belt. These include two Arts and Culture Trust awards for arts administration (2001) and arts management (2007) as well as the prestigious Tunkie Award which she received in 2010.

For more than 30 years Thomson has played a significant role in growing the contemporary dance sector in South Africa. Many South African dancers and choreographers owe the success of their local and international careers to her.

Georgina Thompson of Dance Umbrella and Gregory Vuyani Maqoma of Vuyani Dance Theatre proudly sport the medals awarded to them.

Despite facing many funding challenges Thomson has continued to present the annual Dance Umbrella festival.

“I am so grateful for this amazing award. I have worked very hard over the past 30 years and my time with Dance Umbrella has been an exciting, challenging and very gratifying experience. I hope to culminate this with the 30th Dance Umbrella in 2018,” Thomson said upon accepting the award.

Send your congratulations to Georgina Thomson and Gregory Vuyani Maqoma. WhatsApp on 079 439 5345 to share your messages.

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