World Environment Month celebrated with exhibition and outdoor school

The Afrikaans Language Museum and Monument (ATM)’s latest outdoor exhibition in the Groen Galery celebrates the United Nations’ World Environment Month – whose theme this year is “Ecosystem Restoration” – and focuses on some of the plants and trees on Paarl Mountain. In the garden of the monument there are also plants and shrubs with medicinal value, and next to the museum in Paarl is a historic vineyard that still produces grapes yearly.

The emphasis of the exhibition is on the veld as a pharmacy, historical medical practices and a number of plants with medicinal value that are present in the garden. It is a definite ointment for body and soul, and whose beauty will hopefully also heal visitors of any Covid-19 fatigue. In addition, several schools will visit it as part of their educational programmes to introduce the ecosystem to learners. The programme is presented in collaboration with CapeNature and focuses on human relationships with nature in terms of arson, water pollution and conservation, as well as global warming.

The monument is privileged to be located in about 100 hectares of natural beauty. With this privilege also comes a responsibility to protect and promote the Cape fynbos by continuously eradicating alien invasive species. Fynbos is one of the wonders of the world with about 9,000 species occurring over 90,000 km² – a total of 6,190 of these species are exclusive to the Cape flora (or endemic).

Ecosystem degradation affects the well-being of at least 3,2 billion people, 40% of the world’s population. South Africa is home to more than 95 000 known species, making it the third-most biodiverse country in the world. Yet its natural spaces are greatly threatened by human actions, including mining, farming, urban sprawl and industrial development. 

The exhibition in the monument’s garden runs until August 2021, but can be seen online at, where previous exhibitions are also available. 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 boulder, surrounded by indigenous olive trees and granite. Every few months an exhibition, usually focussing on up-and-coming Afrikaans writers’ works, is presented in the gallery’s display cases, made from recycled wood and glass, to give attention to the cultural and ecological aspects of the monument.

For further information on this and other exciting events, (online) courses and Covid-19 protocols, call 021 863 0543/4809, visit or follow them on Facebook. The website also offers virtual tours of the monument and museum, information in six languages about the symbolism of the Taalmonument as well as many interesting articles on Afrikaans, multilingualism and the institution’s past, present and future. There are numerous resources for school and research projects as well. Year permits are available at R120 for individuals or R220 per family (currently offered at a 20% discount), which includes access to all Full Moon Picnics. THE LANGUAGE MONUMENT AND LANGUAGE MUSEUM ARE OPEN TO VISITORS – CHILDREN UNDER 18 CURRENTLY ENTER FOR FREE.