Book a date now for Taalmonument’s book repair and binding courses

You love your old, neglected hardcover books, but just wish you could master the art of repairing them properly? Then book repair specialist George Wentzel’s courses at the Afrikaans Language Museum and Monument (ATM) in Paarl are once again the answer to your dreams. Wentzel, a qualified master bookbinder with over 45 years of experience, is offering an introductory course on repairing old hardcover books from Wednesday, 24th, to Friday, 26th, February 2021. From 29 to 31 March this year, he is also offering an advanced course at the ATM.

This expert previously worked in the National Library of South Africa’s book conservation section; his passion is teaching this scarce skill to others. Thanks to his many awards and the offering of more than 50 disaster management and bookbinding workshops across the country, he is undoubtedly a fountain of theoretical and practical knowledge.

No prior knowledge is required for the three-day, bilingual course. Participants will create three books each, do gold foiling and perform basic book repairs. Included are working procedures, an overview of the parts of a book and the composition thereof, as well as demonstrations of and practical exercises in end papering, binding, leather binding, casing rounding and backing.

The course fee, including a certificate of attendance and basic tool kit, is R1 750 per person and the workshop takes place daily from 09:00 to 15:30 in the Conference Room in the Visitor Centre at the Taalmonument. Tea and coffee are included, but participants should bring their own lunch. In terms of the Covid-19 regulations, participants will have to wear masks.

An advanced course in book repair – focusing on advanced gold foiling and repairing techniques, and construction of Solander boxes – will be presented from 29 to 31 March 2021. The advanced course, also R1 750 per person, is suitable for participants who have already acquired the basics of book and paper conservation, and each person will again create three books.

For details and bookings, contact Jeffrey Pietersen on 021 872 3441 or send an e-mail to

The ATM annually presents a series of courses and workshops focusing on the development of basic professional skills. Anyone interested in related subjects are welcome to make suggestions for additional workshops. See for more information and follow them on Facebook for the other exciting events happening at the Taalmonument. Annual 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.