RFI France

In-depth interviews with decision-makers, celebrities or ordinary people with extraordinary stories. Every week we meet people from around the world to hear the stories they have to tell and to find out what has given them a distinctive voice.

In-depth interviews with decision-makers, celebrities or ordinary people with extraordinary stories. Every week we meet people from around the world to hear the stories they have to tell and to find out what has given them a distinctive voice.
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Paris, France


RFI France


In-depth interviews with decision-makers, celebrities or ordinary people with extraordinary stories. Every week we meet people from around the world to hear the stories they have to tell and to find out what has given them a distinctive voice.




Voices - Celebrating laughter, the best medecine

Le Rire Médecin this year celebrates its 20th anniversary. American Caroline Simonds founded the French association after learning about hospital clowns in the United States. The association now employs 87 clowns who perform in 37 paedriatric services around France. The hospital clowns help children often confined to their beds to forget loneliness and fears, and they can even help relieve pain by distracting children at key moments during their often painful treatment.


Voices - Succeeding in a man's world as a Michelin-starred chef

Hélène Darroze has succeeded in a man's world. While women still do much of the cooking at home in France, few become award-winning chefs. Hélène Darroze is one rare exception. Brought up in her family's restaurant in south-western France, she became a chef, opened her own restaurant in Paris and won the most prestigious of cooking awards: a Michelin star. She now holds three of the coveted stars: one for her restaurant in Paris, and two for the Connaught Hotel restaurant in London. She...


Voices - Janet Nkubana puts genocide survivors back in business

Janet Nkubana grew up in a refugee camp in Uganda. She only went to live in her parents' native country, Rwanda, after the genocide, in 2004. Shocked by the suffering and poverty, she started helping women sell their baskets. She and her sister then started a business, Gahaya Links, which now employs some 4,000 women and men. The company sells baskets and jewellery, and exports them, especially to the United States. Nkubana talks about the challenges in building up her business, from...


Voices - Potter Edmund de Waal on an inspiring legacy

Edmund de Waal is one of the world's best-known contemporary potters. His works sell for up to 60,000 euros apiece. But now he's won acclaim for something quite different: a book. The hare with amber eyes: a hidden inheritance tells the story of his rich ancestors, and of a remarkable collection of small Japanese sculptures that has been passed down through five generations of his family.


Voices - Shoah director Lanzmann looks at a rich life

Claude Lanzmann has had a remarkable life: a Jew in occupied France during WWII, he joined the resistance as a teenager. After the war he wrote for leading newspapers and magazines, befriended writer and philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and for eight years shared the life of Sartre's life-long companion Simone de Beauvoir. He later spent 12 years making Shoah, a nine-and-a-half hour documentary on the holocaust which is being rereleased in the US this year. Lanzmann's autobigraphy, The...


Voices - Oceans producer Perrin tells of his passion for film

Oceans was one of the most successful French films abroad in 2010. The documentary, which captures extraordinary images of our underwater world, was produced and co-directed by Jacques Perrin, famous in France as both actor and producer. Oceans is the latest in a long list of films, many of which have won prestigious awards, produced by Perrin. He tells Voices how he began producing and what he finds so exciting about his work.


Voices - Tears gone by as Marianne Faithfull tours again

Marianne Faithfull was only 17 when her hit As Tears Go By won her international fame. She became a household name as a singer and also stage and screen actress. But her career plummeted during her highly-publicised relationship with Mick Jagger, during which she became a drug addict. She made a comeback years later with Broken English, which featured her greatest hit The Ballad of Lucy Jordan. Several other albums followed, and some remarkable film performances too. She's back touring...


Voices - French photographer Eric Valli on his Himalayan adventures, part II

In this, the second of a two-part series with Eric Valli, the French photographer recounts how he found one of the last remaining honey-hunters of Nepal. And he recalls several other journeys into some of the remotest parts of the Himalayas, and some of the unforgettable encounters he had there.


Voices - French photographer Eric Valli on his work and travels to remote parts of the Himalayas

French photographer Eric Valli travelled to Nepal in the 1970s with just a small camera in his rucksack. He has since gained international recognition for his photos of the honey-hunters of Nepal and has captured memorable photos of people and landscapes in areas of the Himalayas few westerners have seen.


Voices - Indignez-vous! Take on society's woes with Stéphane Hessel

Indignez-vous is arguably France's most surprising literary bestseller. Since it was published by a small company based in southern France last October, it has sold over 600,000 copies. The 30-page booklet calls on readers to get angry and take responsibility for society's woes. And it calls on the French to re-embrace the values of the French resistance during World War II. The book was written by Stéphane Hessel, the 93-year-old former diplomat and hero of the resistance.


Voices - Meet the child acrobats at Zip Zap circus

The circus is a traditional Christmas treat for children. In France, dozens of circuses, small and large, set up their tents for the Christmas season. But circuses are no longer always about clowns and lions. Some specialise in acrobatic acts, and no longer use animals at all. The Phenix Circus has made a name for itself for showcasing acts from all over the world. This year it celebrates its 10th anniversary. One of the acts is from the Zip Zap Circus in South Africa, which trains...


Voices - Maggy Barankitse, the angel of Burundi

Maggy Barankitse started looking after orphaned and sick children when civil war broke out in Burundi in 1994. She put her life at risk by helping both Hutu and Tutsi children, and narrowly escaped death on several ocasions. She now has homes all over Burundi, and has helped some 30,000 children: orphans, Aids sufferers, child soldiers and children displaced by war.


Voices - Victims of terror fight for compensation

"Anger makes you do things you aren't expected to do," says Guillaume Denoix de Saint Marc. The founder of the French Association for the Victims of Terrorism lost his father in a 1989 attack on a DC10 plane. The anger he felt led him to become chief negotiator with Libyan officials that led to financial compensation for the familes of the 170 victims. In September 2011 his group will organise the Seventh International Congress for Victims of Terrorism in Paris to coincide with the tenth...


Voices - The taboo of talking about HIV/Aids, on film

A conversation with director Oliver Schmitz about his film Life Above All, about the taboo of talking about HIV/Aids in some small communities in South Africa. It tells the story of 12-year-old Chanda, who fights to learn the truth about the death of her baby sister and the illness her mother is suffering from. The film is adapted from the best-selling novel Chandra's Secrets by Allan Stratton, and comes out in French cinemas on 1 December to mark World Aids Day. Proceeds from the first...


Voices - Sarah Bernhardt and Danielle Casanova head for the silver screen

The lives of the eccentric French stage actress Sarah Bernhardt and the prominent pre-war Communist who died in Auschwitz Danielle Casanova are the subject of two film scripts being written by Americans. Cynthia Riddle and Danielle Wolff both came to France recently to finalise their scripts, invited by the Franco-American Cultural Fund and the Ile-de-France Film Commission. Cynthia Riddle has been fascinated by Sarah Bernhardt for many years, while Danielle Wolff discovered Danielle...


Voices - Véronique Tadjo on questions of identity and a father's funeral

Véronique Tadjo's latest novel, Loin de mon père, tells the story of a young woman of mixed race who returns to Côte d'Ivoire to organise her father's funeral. The country has changed, family secrets are revealed and traditions and family obligations have to be respected. Tadjo talks about her book and her own experience being "not even a complete African", as she was once described.


Voices - Happy days with the incredible Clyde Wright

In this, the second of a two-part Voices with Clyde Wright, the manager and oldest member of the Golden Gate Quartet looks back on his life with the famous gospel group. "Granpa", as he likes to call himself, talks about the quartet's new album, Incredible, and explains the success of his 82 years "on this earth" . A book about the group, Oh Happy Days, has just been published in France.


Voices - Clyde Wright - over 60 years singing gospel

At the age of 82, Clyde Wright is the oldest member of The Golden Gate Quartert, and its manager. He joined the the famous gospel group in 1953 . The quartet has brought out a new album Incredible. Wright grew up in the south of the United States when African-Americans couldn't go to the same schools as whites, use the same public services or eat in the same restaurants. Music played a major role in his life from a very young age. He started singing in church at the age of four and joined a...


Voices - Threatened with death - the Muslim who's converted to Christianity

We talk to Sabatina James, a former Muslim from Pakistan who's been threatened with death for converting to Christianity.


Voices - Wrongly convicted woman fights US death penalty

Gloria Killian was released from prison in the United States in 2002 after serving over 17 years of a sentence of 32 years to life. Her conviction was overturned when an appeal court determined that it was based solely on perjured testimony. Gloria Killian has since founded the Action Committee for Women in Prison and campaigns against the death penalty.