The official commencement of the Afrikaans Language Museum and Monument’s 45th celebrations took place on Thursday, February 6, when a group of distinguished guests attended the launch. Representatives from various cultural organisations, local municipalities, education departments, museums, sponsors and media houses, along with the staff and council members of the Taalmonument, made a toast to the progress of Afrikaans and the institution over the past 45 years. The delicious refreshments, snacks and excellent entertainment (by Paarl Valley Eisteddfod, Marco Mentoor and Willem Fransman jr) ensured a pleasant afternoon that emphasised the language community’s friendship and sense of humour.
The director, Michael Jonas, gave a brief overview of the institution during which he explained how the ‘exclusive’ history of the monument has been transformed into a space where relationships between Afrikaans speakers are healed and social cohesion, including with the larger South African population, accomplished. Councillor Kobus du Plessis, mayoral committee member for economic development and tourism of the Cape Winelands District Municipality, emphasised the importance of smaller cultural groups to not only look inward, but also to radiate their culture in a positive way. According to him, the institution is a major national and international tourism attraction that helps place Afrikaans in a positive light.
He was followed by councillor Laurichia van Niekerk, mayoral committee member for arts and culture of the Drakenstein Municipality, who highlighted the Taalmonument’s tourism importance in the area. According to her, it also plays an increasingly important role for the local community, especially thanks to the institution’s empowerment projects. Attention was also drawn to the latest exhibition, ‘Grondwoorde’, in the Green Gallery since 1 January 2020, in which Afrikaans poems of KwaZulu-Natal learners (many of them with a Zulu and Hindu background) are exhibited.
Thanks again to everyone present, especially the media and sponsors. For details on this year’s packed programme, see www.taalmuseum.co.za/festival-programme-1975-2020/