Museumdag Afrikaanse Taalmuseum 2018 klein

Experts discuss technology and influence of first Afrikaans print media

The Afrikaans Language Museum and Monument (ATM) celebrates this year’s International Museum Day with the Genadendal Mission Museum, drawing attention to the use of technology, communication and the creation of new audiences for museums. Prof Jatti Bredekamp, a born ‘Genaler’ and the first black chief executive of Iziko Museums, will be interviewing Prof Christo van Rensburg, a well-known linguist and author of ‘So kry ons Afrikaans’, and Mr Samuel Baatjes, the museum’s educational officer, on 26 May. In addition, the two winners of the Genadendal Mission Museum’s speech competition for learners – held on May 18 – will also give a perspective on how the youth views museums.

As this year’s theme for Museum Day is ‘Hyperconnected museums: new approaches, new publics’, they will focus on Genadendal’s ‘De Bode’ (1860) and Paarl’s ‘Die Afrikaanse Patriot’ (1876) publications as well as how the printing presses influenced their audiences.

Although the Genadendal newspaper is older than the Paarl newspaper, the former basically spoke Genadendal Dutch with a few Afrikaans words. From its inception ‘Die Afrikaanse Patriot’ spoke Afrikaans and is therefore still regarded as the oldest Afrikaans publication, definitely in terms of one using the Roman alphabet. In Cape Town itself, Afrikaans religious texts making use of Arabic script also appeared in the 1860s and 1870s.

Bredekamp served for many years on the International Council of Museums (ICOM), published articles in the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) publications, and is a member of Genadendal’s Board of Trustees as the representative of the Western Cape premier. He also serves on the board of the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA). Van Rensburg is a linguist at the University of the North West and has just been announced as co-recipient of the Jan H Marais Prize, the most extensive Afrikaans academic prize. He is honoured for his ground-breaking work on the origin of Afrikaans, specifically the influence of Khoi-Afrikaans.

The festive day, which also includes refreshments, takes place in Genadendal outside Greyton and starts at 10:00. Entry is free, but booking is essential as only 60 visitors can be accommodated.

For bookings and further information, call 021 863 0543/4809 or visit and