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Pro Helvetia Johannesburg, renamed as such since their move 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.
Their current strategy is defined around a focus on Dance and Music, as well as 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 and longer studio residencies available.