Taalmonument celebrates Heritage Month with Blaq Pearl

Ek is ʼn Khoi ʼn San
Ek stap saam die maan – met wild in my hand
En ʼn dans – wat jou sit in ʼn trans
My voorgeslag kon reën maak,
Stories vertel – was woelag!

In the run-up to the Heritage Day on 24 September 2019, the Afrikaans Language Museum and Monument (ATM) is extremely pleased to exhibit cultural activist Blaq Pearl’s work at the monument.

According to Michael Jonas, ATM director, the institution is a living monument where there is a continuous interaction between the structure, nature, visitors and language creators. “We like to give up-and-coming writers, musicians and poets a chance to expose their work to a larger audience. Most visitors are not only very interested in the history of Afrikaans, but also curious about the language’s development and her latest creative incarnations as it offers new perspectives on the worlds of many Afrikaans-speaking Africans.”

Blaq Pearl (Janine van Rooy-Overmeyer) regularly performs at music and poetry performances, also as storyteller and motivational speaker. Her musical genre embraces Afro/Soul/Hiphop/Jazz/R&B, and she is internationally recognised for her performances. She was in the cast of the award-winning music productions Afrikaaps and ‘n Plekkie in die Son. In 2011, her debut album, Against All Odds, was released and in 2015 her first self-published book, Karadaaa!!! – a collection of her poetry, stories and songs in English and Afrikaans – saw the light of day. In 2016, she completed the music production Krotoa van Vandag, which she still performs at schools to this day. In addition, her Blaqpearl Foundation is actively using the arts, life skills, literature and sports as instruments to encourage especially the Cape Flats youth to break away from harsh realities and social problems such as gangs, drug abuse, and teenage pregnancy and parenting. One of the projects is to provide girls with music, design, storytelling, creative writing and dancing skills and opportunities; through this they learn to create and to promote and sell that which they create to sustain themselves financially.

The architect of the monument, Jan van Wijk, felt strongly about nature and therefore he is honoured by this open-air gallery where his ashes are embedded in a boulder, surrounded by indigenous olive trees and granite. Every few months an exhibit of various upcoming Afrikaans writers’ works is presented in the gallery’s display cases, made from recycled wood and glass, to focus on the cultural and ecological aspects of the monument.

The public can view Pearl’s exhibition from 1 September to the end of December 2019 in the Groen Galery. The monument, which is also the starting point of Paarl’s Tree Trail, is open daily from 08:00 to 17:00. Access is R40 for adults, R10 for SA students/pensioners and R5 for children (free under six years). Audio guides in various languages as well as free guided tours are available, and the monument also offers a playground for children, hiking trails and a restaurant.

For inquiries about the monument or to find out more about the many popular events and discounts, visit www.taalmonument.co.za or www.facebook.com/afrikaansetaalmonument. Call them on 021 863 0543/ 872 3441 or send an email to admin@taalmonument.co.za. See more on Blaq Pearl’s foundation at www.blaqpearlfoundation.org.za.