Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Afrikaans Language Museum
The Afrikaanse Taalmuseum (language museum) in Paarl, set on the banks of the Berg River, and roughly 50 kilometres north east of Cape Town, is at once associated with the Afrikaanse Taalmuseum, and a dedication to the Afrikaans language.
Where? 11 Pastorie Street, Paarl, Cape Winelands
When? Open daily.
How? Call +27 (0)21 872-3441
The Afrikaans Taal museum offers a contemporary exhibition on the origins of the Afrikaans language – its roots, variants and expressions. The initial intention behind the museum was to honour the members and work of a society known as the Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners (association of true Afrikaners), whose aims were to establish Afrikaans as a written language, to standardise the language, and to begin publishing in Afrikaans.
Today the house museum is in the Georgian-style home of one of the leaders of this society, Gideon Malherbe.
A fairly new multimedia exhibition - Afrikaans: a rainbow of language - is an interactive introduction to Afrikaans, and the people who speak it – from sheep shearers, fishermen of Waenhuiskrans to taxi Afrikaans, and Cape Afrikaans, spoken by the coloured people of Cape Town and its surrounds.
The museum holds social functions at least once every quarter that include providing a platform for Afrikaans writers and other artists, musical presentations, and films. The museum also produces a quarterly newsletter known as the ‘Afrikaans forum’, letting people know about the activities of the museum.
All the signage in the museum is in three official languages of the Western Cape Province – English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa - and the museum also supplies texts and commentary on sound systems. They have worked hard not to make the museum, or the exhibition on the second floor, a political instrument, but an interesting and modern place to visit.