Nine members represent a broad range of expertise

The Afrikaans Language Museum and Monument (ATM) in Paarl has welcomed its new council that was recently appointed by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture.

According to the director, Mr Michael Jonas, management and staff look forward to closely cooperate with the council to realise the vision and goals of an inclusive institution. “We continue to build on our projects to recognise ignored varieties of Afrikaans and promote the diversity of Afrikaans through inclusive programmes and activities,” he says. “Although our 45th birthday celebrations in 2020 were turned upside down by the Covid-19 pandemic, we have adapted well to the new challenges and significantly expanded our virtual footprint.”

The nine members, three of whom served on the previous council, represent a broad range of cultural, linguistic, legal and financial expertise that will be of great benefit to the institution. The councillors, who will serve for three years from the beginning of 2021, are Adv Jean Meiring (chair), Ms Sibongile Tsoleli (deputy chair), Prof Anne-Marie Beukes, Ms Heidi Erdmann, Mr Jurie Saal, Mr Lionel Adendorf, Mr Logan Munsamy, Ms Suren Maharaj and Dr William Langeveldt.

Jonas adds: “Part of our mission is to manage the ATM on sound and transparent financial and administrative principles that will establish the institution as a leading and recognised role-player in the heritage sector. Our task is to protect and promote Afrikaans’s diverse language heritage, cultural-historical buildings and heritage sites.”

According to him, the institution is in a privileged position to celebrate culture, nature and pleasure. “However, we must also take our immediate community into account and reach out to them. If the Boland community does not regard the monument as relevant, it’s difficult to convey the value of this place, this space, to other people. Fortunately, the Afrikaans Language Monument is increasingly regarded as a must-see tourism attraction by locals and foreigners. And that’s what we want to build on.”

More on the ATM councillors for 2021-2024:

Anne-Marie Beukes holds a D Litt et Phil in applied linguistics, and is the CEO of the SA Academy for Science and the Arts, and emeritus professor in the department of languages, cultural studies and applied linguistics at the University of Johannesburg. She is an expert on language planning and policy, language politics, language sociology, sociology of translation, and sociolinguistics.

Heidi Erdmann recently completed a MA degree with a research focus on the role of national museums. She has 28 years of experience as a professional in the cultural industry, working both locally and internationally, and continues to play an active role in the sector. 

Jean Meiring holds various law degrees and was awarded the William Senior Studentship at Clare College, Cambridge. He is a council member of the Stellenbosch University, and is a legal and literature expert.

Jurie Saal holds an honours degree in linguistics and had worked as a lecturer, after which he was a human resources and administrative manager at various companies and training colleges. He also served as a director of the Public Servants Association, and on the ATM board previously.

Lionel Adendorf holds a B.Tech in Journalism and has more than 15 years’ experience as a corporate communication strategist. This experienced former journalist and government spokesperson runs his own integrity and reputation management consultancy.

Logan Munsamy holds a master’s degree in public administration and is acting head of government management at the Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein. He is a Free State provincial representative for the Africa Peer Review Mechanism, and has served on the ATM board previously.

Sibongile Tsoleli has a post-graduate diploma in governance and is an experienced politician.

Suren Maharaj is a qualified chartered accountant that specialises in auditing, risk-management and finance.

William Langeveldt holds a doctorate in philosophy and is a Khoe-San activist highlighting the challenges of Southern Africa’s first people locally and abroad. He has served on the ATM board previously.

THE MONUMENT AND MUSEUM ARE STILL OPEN TO VISITORS. For more information on all the planned events, concerts and courses at the Taalmonument (with Covid-19 taken into account), call 021 872 3441/863 0543, visit or follow them on Facebook.