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Language Monument, LitNet and ATKV-Skryfskool focus on 11 urban poets

In the run-up to Heritage Day on 24 September 2018, the Afrikaans Language Museum and Monument (ATM) is proud to join creative forces with the independent journal and the ATKV-Skryfskool to exhibit lesser-known poets’ work at the monument’s Green Gallery. This temporary exhibition places the spotlight on nine poets whose work appeared in LitNet’s ‘new poems’ in 2018 and on two poets who participated in the ATKV-Skryfskool’s 2018 workshop at the Taalmonument. The poets live in Cape Town, Pretoria, Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, so the emphasis is on urban poets this time around.

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 would like to give less-known 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.”

Considering that the theme of this year’s Heritage Month is ‘The Year of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: Advancing Transformation of South Africa’s Heritage Landscape’, it is appropriate that this iconic monument plays a role in promoting social cohesion by acquainting visitors with new, diverse Afrikaans voices. “After all, Mandela’s saying ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head; if you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart,’ still holds true,” says Jonas.

The 11 poets are Carma Shaw, Deon Swanepoel, Ilze Lammers, Japhta Makwena, Kim Cloete, Marius Coetzee, Monn-lee Geduld, Ricardo Arendse, Sunelle Geyer, Susanne Pike and Willem de Vries who represent a wide range of interests, histories and writing styles.

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 rock, surrounded by indigenous olive trees and granite. Every few months an exhibit of various 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. LitNet is a widely-acclaimed multi-lingual interactive journal on the internet where writers can publish their stories, thoughts, columns, articles and opinions. The ATKV-Skryfskool has been in existence since 1985 and offers a variety of short writing courses to anyone who wants to start writing creatively or who wants to improve their creative writing.

The public can view the exhibition from 15 September to January 2019 in the Green Gallery. The monument, which is also the starting point of Paarl’s Tree Trail, is open daily from 08:00 to 17:00. Access is R30 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, call 021 863 4809/0543/2 or send an email to Visit or for more information.

Click here for PDF version of the poems

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