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

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

New release: Shorty and Billy Boy by Gerard Sekoto

Written and illustrated in 1973 by one of South Africa’s most famous artists, Gerard Sekoto, Shorty and Billy Boy is a book for children as well as art lovers and collectors. It has been published in the 11 South African languages and in French.

The manuscript formed part of a private collection of Sekoto’s sketches, artworks, letters and memoirs repatriated to South Africa from France. The story was clearly written and illustrated as a personal exercise and possibly a sentimental souvenir of his own childhood memories, but has not been published until now. Sekoto may well have composed it as a gift for children of friends, as he was often engaged in making greeting cards with accompanying illustrations. There are other unfinished stories and musical compositions in the estate collection, but Shorty and Billy Boy is the most complete.

Shorty and Billy Boy tells the tale of two troublesome dogs whose thieving ways take them to the far-away town of Porcupine Hills. Here they meet all sorts of interesting characters, but continue their mischief until Billy Boy is caught red-handed and sent to jail. Here he dreams about the kindness of others, and comes to realize that good deeds are the true measure of freedom.

The Gerard Sekoto Foundation has approved a number of editorial changes made to Sekoto’s original text, where the aim has been to preserve the integrity and flavour of the unpublished story, while making it more accessible to present-day readers. The South African context of the tale has been accentuated and obsolete language and minor inconsistencies have been removed. The result is a timeless and engaging story that retains Sekoto’s unique spirit and imagination.

About the Author
Gerard Sekoto (1913–1993) is acknowledged as an iconic and inspirational figure. Sekoto came from a leading academic missionary family, and had a good education compared with many of his peers. Art was not formally offered to black students, even in missionary schools of the1920s, so Sekoto was forced to teach himself his craft. Sekoto left South Africa in 1947 for France, where he lived in exile for nearly 45 years. While there, Sekoto continued, through his art, to reflect the intrinsic humanism with which his art is associated. The French Government awarded him the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres shortly before his death in 1993. He lies buried at Nogent-sur-Marne, outside Paris.

Parameters of Book:
Sub-title:     A Tale of Two Naughty Dogs
Author:     Gerard Sekoto
ISBN:     9781431406067
Publisher : Jacana Media 
Size (mm):     297x230mm
Pages:     32pp
Format:     Paperback
Colour:     Full Colour
Rights:     World
Publication Date:      April 2013
Availability     In Stock

Books - Events & News

  • 2021-Dibuka-close-june-banner
    Dibuka

    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-SomebodyToldMel-FBevent
    Events and News

    Somebody Told Me - An Audio Theatre Experience

    Put on your headphones, sit back and make yourself comfortable! Are you ready? Come and follow the adventure of 5 travellers embarking on a dreamy, fun and quirky journey aboard a hot-air balloon.Somebody Told Me was born out of an international collaboration between five actors who have selected… Read more
  • 2020-dibuka-re-open3
    Dibuka

    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

I'm a writer of the world

Patrick Chamoiseau with Nadine Gordimer during the French Season in South Africa

See video