‘CJ Langenhoven, Afrikaans and the white man’s language that never was’

The Afrikaans Language Museum and Monument’s (ATM’s) popular Language Day celebration this year focuses via a free panel discussion on Friday, August 12, on author CJ Langenhoven’s controversial claim that Afrikaans was the only “white man’s language” that originated outside of Europe.

In honour of Women’s Month, all the participants of this event, in collaboration with the Historium Trust and Langenhoven Memorial Fund, are women who are experts in various language spheres. One is also a great-grandchild of Langenhoven, who passed away 90 years ago. The ATM board chair and literature expert Jean Meiring will facilitate the discussion between Willemien Brümmer, Anastasia de Vries, Jo-Mari Anne Nel and Eureka Barnard that will place the spotlight on Afrikaans’ roots and the last century’s language developments and politics. Guests can question the panel members afterwards.

Brümmer is an award-winning author and journalist who has also done a lot of research on her great-grandfather. De Vries is a well-known journalist, columnist and lecturer who regularly writes about the lesser-known histories of Afrikaans. Nel is a parliamentary language practitioner whose short story collection Stof van die Richtersveld was published this year. Barnard is a museum and language expert, and the director of the South African Centre for the Netherlands and Flanders.

Although Afrikaans does not have a specific birth day or place, the founding of the Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners on 14 August 1875 (in what is now the Language Museum in Paarl) is celebrated as Language Day because this event ultimately led to the recognition of Afrikaans as an official language.

The event starts at 18:00 for 18:30 in the Historium building, 11 Pastorie Avenue, Paarl, and refreshments will be served. Attendance is free, but reservations via bemarking2@taalmuseum.co.za or 021 863 0543 by 11 August are essential. The entire conversation will be recorded and later made available online, while Nel’s book will also be offered for sale at the physical event. An interesting background article on the subject can be read at www.litnet.co.za/afrikaans-waarheid-en-versoening-onder-een-dak/.

For more information on all the other exciting events, concerts and courses at the Taalmonument, call 021 872 3441/863 0543, visit www.taalmonument.co.za or follow them on Facebook. The website also offers virtual tours of the monument and museum, information in six languages on the symbolism of the Taalmonument as well as many interesting articles on Afrikaans, multilingualism and the institution’s past, present and future. There are also many resources for school and research projects. Annual permits are available at only R120 for individuals or R220 per family, which includes access to all Full Moon Picnics. The ATM Koffiehuis offers delicious food and beautiful views daily.