Taalmonument’s 45th year kicks off with KZN learners’ poems

Op dae wanneer ons doodbang is, laat ons obafana staan.
Hy skiet bliksemstrale en rommel dan.
Weerspieël dit terug in die lug,
omdat hy te bang is om man tot man te veg.
       –    Amandiso Diko

To kick off the Afrikaans Language Museum and Monument’s (ATM’s) 45th anniversary on a creative note, the institution is delighted to exhibit the works of the Grondwoorde 2019 winners in its Groen Galery. This poetry competition for high school learners in KwaZulu-Natal attracts especially non-mother tongue speakers and has grown so rapidly since 2016 that it now entails a junior and senior division.

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 Afrikaans-speaking Africans.”

Grondwoorde organiser Wouter Gildenhuys says the aim of the competition is to promote Afrikaans, support aspiring poets and build bridges between learners from more diverse groups. To participate, learners had to submit three poems about Gandhi, land and Zulu myths/folk tales. Die overall senior winner was Amandiso Diko of Ganges Secondary School (with Zen Olivier and Alaika Seepye the runners-up) and the overall junior winner Tiana Maritz of Hoërskool Pionier (with Diva Luckan and Tinkie Zaayman the runners-up). Nikita Perumal, Michaela Claassen, Jessica Janse van Vuuren, Thinus Bester, Tasme Ramsamooj and Annetjie van der Merwe won the other prizes. The works of the winners as well as of those of many other participants were included in an anthology of poems that is for sale.

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. See www.taalmuseum.co.za/groen-galery/ for the latest and previous exhibitions.

The public can view the Grondwoorde exhibition for a few months, starting on 2 January 2020. 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, including those for the 45th year celebrations, visit www.taalmonument.co.za or its Facebook page. Call them on 021 863 0543/ 872 3441 or send an email to admin@taalmuseum.co.za. See more on Grondwoorde via Facebook ‘grondwoorde’ or send an email to gildenhuys.wouter@gmail.com.