AFRIKAANS LANGUAGE MONUMENT – Dr Dawn Gould

This monument, commemorating the forming of the Afrikaans Language which was declared  an official language of South Africa,  was opened on the 10th October 1975.  One drives up a road that becomes more and more steep until eventually one sees this imposing building overlooking the town of Paarl.  The above given date also has relevance to the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners (the Society of Real Afrikaners).  This organization had been founded to indicate the pride of the people who spoke this youngest of African languages.

Politics slowly but surely played a role in the development of this new language. The early Dutch settlers desired greater independence from the English speaking governing body of the small colony.  The Dutch language began changing, adding Malay words, African influences.

At the entrance to the tall structures there is a large plaque which states the words of N P van Wyk LOUW:  “Afrikaans is die taal wat vir Wes Europa en Afrika verbind….      Dit vorm’n brug tussen die groot helder Wete en die magiese Afrika…     En wat daar groots aan hulle vereniging kan ontspruit – dit is miskien wat vir Afrikaans  voorlȇ  om te ontdek. Maar wat ons nooit moet  vergeet nie, is dat hierdie verandering van land en landskap as’t ware aan die nuwe wordende taal geslyp, geknee, gebrei het… En so het Afrikaans in staat geword om hierdie nuwe land uit te sȇ… Ons taak le in die gebruik wat ons maak en sal maak van hierdie glansende werktuig…”

The English translation is as follows:  “Afrikaans is the language that connects Western Europe and Africa…It forms a bridge between the large, shining West and the magical Africa… And what great things may come from their union – that is maybe what lies ahead for Afrikaans to discover.   But what we must never forget, is that this change of country and landscape sharpened, kneaded and knitted this newly-becoming language ..   And so Afrikaans became able to speak out from this new land… Our task lies in the use that we make and will make of this gleaming vehicle…”

There is also on this plaque a paragraph written by CJ Langenhoven in Afrikaans and a translation in English. At the entrance to the monument at the words ‘DIT IS ONS ERNS”  ( “we are earnest”, or “this is our earnestness”)

Surrounding the monument is the 2000 hectare Paarl Nature Reserve and next to it is the smaller Wild Flower Reserve with approximately 200 species of wild plants.