Nestled in the heart of Johannesburg is a vibrant cultural sanctuary, where the spirit of friendship flourishes across borders.
The Yunus Emre Institute and Turkish Cultural Centre, inaugurated on April 5, 2017, stands as a living tribute to the enduring legacy of Yunus Emre, an Anatolian Turkish poet whose influence spans the 13th and 14th centuries.
Emre, the luminary after whom the institute is named, transcends the realms of poetry; he emerges as a guiding light of human values, love, and social harmony.
Beyond his linguistic contributions to Turkish poetry, Emre espoused a universal philosophy that champions the harmonious coexistence of humanity, transcending the barriers of religion, language, and race.
"At the Yunus Emre Institute and Turkish Cultural Centre in Johannesburg, we've made it our mission to embody this philosophy in all our endeavours," stated the institute's director, Abdulaziz Yigit.
The Yunus Emre Institute serves as a cultural bridge uniting Türkiye and South Africa.
Guided by the mantra, "Come, let us be friends," the institute is devoted to nurturing a robust and amicable relationship between the two nations.
This dedication materialises through an array of social and cultural initiatives delving into Turkish language, literature, history, and the arts.
Mutual cultural activities, as emphasized by Yigit, play a pivotal role in uniting people.
"The institute commemorates the national and significant days of both Türkiye and South Africa, crafting delightful events that resonate with the rich tapestry of each country's culture.
“These celebrations are not mere events; they are profound expressions of friendship and understanding," affirmed Yigit.
Moving beyond cultural festivities, the Yunus Emre Institute emerges as a beacon of educational opportunities.
It opens its doors to all with offerings such as traditional Turkish handicraft courses, captivating stage performances, enlightening conferences, and seminars.
Scholarship and summer school programs further enrich educational opportunities in South Africa, embodying principles of inclusivity and accessibility.
The institute's diverse activities encompass Turkish language classes, marbling and calligraphy sessions, Turkish film screenings, Turkish cooking demonstrations, and captivating art exhibitions.
Going above and beyond, the Yunus Emre Institute boasts state-of-the-art teaching facilities.
Its extensive library, housing over 4,000 books, provides a tranquil space for individuals to savour Turkish tea, work and research, and immerse themselves in a rich cultural ambiance.
In essence, the Yunus Emre Institute and Turkish Cultural Centre function as a cultural oasis, fostering a profound understanding and appreciation between Turkey and South Africa.
Through the mediums of language, arts, and education, this institute nurtures enduring friendships and fortifies the bonds that unite these two nations.
Stepping into the Yunus Emre Institute is not merely entering a physical space; it is stepping into a world of shared experiences, boundless learning, and, most significantly, friendship.
"Come, let us be friends," beckons the institute, as it endeavours to be the cultural bridge uniting us all.
For more information, visit the Centre, 1 Pretoria St, Oaklands, 2192, Johannesburg.
Check out their Facebook page for regular updates on activities: https://www.facebook.com/joburgyee/
Supplied by: Hasina Kathrada - Freelance journalist and TV news producer