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Taalmonument - Language Monument
Paarl, Western Cape

Johan Carel (Jan) VAN WIJK: Design Architect
J VAN WIJK and PARTNERS: Architect

Style:Monumental Modernism


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33°45'56.79" S 18°56'33.09" E Alt: 365m

Afrikaanse Taalmonument, Paarl

On the southern slopes of the Paarlberg, Paarl stands the Afrikaans Language Monument. SJ du Toit, the so-called 'father' of the Afrikaans language lies buried in the Kleinbosch cemetery in the proximate Daljosafat, hence the choice of the site.

In 1965 the Afrikaans Monument Committee, established in 1942 to this end, issued a competition for the design of this monument. The panel of assessors comprised WJ du P Erlank, Prof AL MEIRING and JDP van der Merwe, who selected the entry of the architect Jan VAN WIJK as winner.

In his conception the three pylons to the left of the approach to the monument represent the formative cultures of the Afrikaans language, namely those from Europe - Dutch, German and French. On the podium to the right are three hemispherical protrusions representative of the influence of mystical Africa. The single central marker represents the direct influence of the imported Asian [so-called ‘Malay’] slaves. Where these all meet on the level of the podium the sweep of the 57 meter pylon arises representing the melding of these influences into an ever–growing dynamic language. Directly below this pylon lies a bubbling fountain and an undulating passageway with the play of light through a myriad of appertures in the wall, representing the life-force of continuous growth. The Republican pylon to the right is directed to the African hinterland so as to engage the monument in a continuous dialogue with the continent.

Officially opened on 10 October 1975.

See [Van Wijk, Jan. 1989. Taalmonument, Paarl. In Swart, MJ (Chair). Afrikanerbakens. Aucklandpark: Federasie van Afrikaner Kultuurverenigings. pp, 53-55.]

Books that reference Taalmonument - Language Monument

Papanicolaou, Stella, Lahabe, Valerie & Rawoot, Maashitoh . 2021. Modern Architectures : Cape Town. Cape Town: MAGS. pg 31
Potgieter, DJ (Editor-in-chief). 1976. Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa [SESA] Volume 12 Suppl/Index. Cape Town: Nasou. pg 1
van Tonder, JJ. 1977. Fotobeeld van 300 Monumente, Standbeelde en Gedenktekens langs die pad van Suid-Afrika. Krugersdorp: JJ van Tonder. pg 141
van Wijk, Jan. 2014. Taalmonument. Tokai: Historical Media. pg All