• Welcome to the website of the French Institute of South Africa!

  • Bienvenue sur le site de l'Institut Français d'Afrique du Sud !

"The Map and the Territory", Michel Houellebecq's last novel, waits for you at Dibuka in French and English!

Michel Houellebecq embodies a strange paradox among French contemporary writers. Hated and despised by artistic elites  for his alleged "lack of style" and "intellectual void" - he even published a book on the topic called "Public Enemies", along with Bernard-Henri Levi, another controversial figure - he remains, novel after novel, a best-selling author in France and abroad. This contradictory fate finally seemed to turn for the better in 2010 when the writer was awarded the prestigious Prix Goncourt for "The Map and the Territory", an original, bitter-sweet novel that has just hit the shelves of Dibuka (Johannesburg) in both French and English.

The book's main character is Jed Martin, a famous painter renowned among other things for his "tributes to human labour". His works bear names such as "The Palo Alto conversation", where Steve Jobs and Bill Gates discuss the future of the computer science, or "Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst sharing the art market", where the two contemporary masters evoke their respective clients. Despite his fame and fortune, Jed cannot help to feel unsatisfied about life - but, as a genuine Houellebecq's character, cannot explain why. His father death and other minor events will inexorably encourage Jed to think about his past and reconsider his present...

Houellebecq is at his best here, writing in his inimitable style made of detachment and irony counterbalanced by subtle touches of brief but always pertinent philosophical remarks. "The Map and the Territory" is a book about art, money and death set in a contemporary France reduced to an open-air museum ; a must-read for any one wishing to have fun - and, incidentally, to get to know one of France's best contemporary writer.


Books - Dibuka

  • 2021-Dibuka-close-june-banner

    Dibuka Library is closed until further notice

    Due to the current situation, and the Level 4 Covid-19 restrictions, your favourite library in town will unfortunately be closed until further notice. Read more
  • 2020-dibuka-re-open3

    Dibuka is reopening, by appointment only!

    The Francophone multimedia library Dibuka is slowly reopening, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, by appointment only. And because we've missed you so much, we, at the French Institute and the Alliance Française of Johannesburg, have prepared some surprise bags for you! SURPRISE BAGS AT DIBUKA WHAT ? We… Read more
  • 2020-DibuKlub-online-1stSem-B

    Programme DibuKlub and DibuKids - February to June 2020

    This year will be full of exciting events and activities at Dibuka. With movies twice a month on Wednesdays for adults and cultural activities twice a month on Saturdays for kids, there is something for everybody! Check out the jam-packed programme we've got for you below: Read more

Opening Hours

> Book your appointment here

Tuesday: 9.30 - 12.30
Thursday: 14.00 - 18.00
Friday: 14.00 - 18.00
Saturday: 9.30 - 12.30


Tel. (+27) 11 646 1115
Fax. (+27) 11 646 1128

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.