Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns, Suid-Afrikaanse


South African Academy for Literature and Science

Toward the conclusion of the proceedings of the National Convention a movement was started, at the suggestion of Prof Steyn, Gen. Hertzog and J. H. Hofmeyr ('Onze Jan'), to set up an authoritative body with the object of furthering the cause of both Dutch and Afrikaans in South Africa. Rather than that the available forces be ranged in opposition, as they were at the time, it was felt that they had to be brought together in one concerted movement; and this feeling led to the formation of De Zuid-Afrikaanse Akademie voor Taal, Letteren en Kunst (SA Academy of Language, Literature and Art) at Bloemfontein on 1 and 2 July 1909. The name was proposed by Gen Hertzog and the aim was formulated as follows:

'To maintain and to promote the Dutch Language and Literature and South African History, Antiquities and Art. The term "Hollands" (Dutch) is understood to include both forms in use in South Africa' (i.e. Nederlands and Afrikaans).

Charter and Constitution. The initial period, 1909-21, was one of trial and called for amendment of the first Constitution. The Akademie was incorporated by private Act of Parliament (No. 23 of 1921) in 1921, with effect from July 1921, and its principal seat was declared to be Pretoria. The Act itself was drafted in Dutch, but the Constitution in Afrikaans. All amendments to the Constitution were to be subject to the approval of the Governor-General. The original objects were never in any way altered.

In the pursuit of its objects the Akademie regulates orthography and offers guidance in the use of the language; arranges for lectures, addresses and meetings; conducts examinations and offers prizes for essays; publishes and encourages the publication of works of merit; publishes periodicals; supports libraries; promotes education through Afrikaans; bestows awards on artists, scientists and cultural leaders; encourages scientific study and research; arranges for Afrikaans scientists and technicians to meet at annual and other meetings and assemblies; calls for symposia on matters of general cultural or scientific interest; makes representations to the authorities; appoints commissions or causes special sections to be set up to deal with special aspects; collaborates with other bodies in the furtherance of matters of common interest; fosters the cultural interests of its members; encourages the Afrikaner people to take an interest in science and technology, etc.

In addition to the Council of the Akademie, there is a council for each of the faculties. The main function of the Akademie Council is to determine the policy of the Akademie; to regulate its finances; to approve the resolutions and proposals of the faculty councils; to exercise control over the periodicals published by it, over the Engelenburg House (where its offices are housed), over commissions of the Akademie and such other matters as have a bearing on the Akademie in general.

The Akademie had as sub-portfolios, amongst others:

Simon van der Stel Foundation.

Africa Institute.

The Akademie can confer the following awards on architects or engineers:

Medals of Honour of the SA Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns.

Havenga Prize for science and technology of the SA Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns.

Visit the Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns website.