Behold the Praying Mantis’s moon…

The graceful monument, with the full moon behind.

With the new year once again upon on us, it is the perfect time to catch your breath and take a closer look at the full moon on a glorious summer evening on the beautiful Paarl Mountain, and the Afrikaans Language Museum and Monument’s (ATM’s) invites visitors to celebrate this natural phenomenon on Saturday January 15.

In support of the Centre for Astronomical Heritage’s project to promote indigenous names for full moons in Southern Africa, this picnic is dedicated to the Praying Mantis, a religious figure of the San people who originally lived all over South Africa.

In the San tradition, the mantis was a trickster figure, /Kaggen, the one who deludes. Over time, he also became the Nguni creature known as uThikoloshi.

The picnics are very popular with local residents and tourists alike, who especially enjoy the sunsets and incredible night scenes. Guests can come anytime between 5pm and 10pm, and have a look at the monument that is an exceptional, symbol-rich sculpture.

Visitors are also encouraged to explore the gardens and temporary exhibitions; there are outdoor games and playgrounds for children.

Guests can bring their own picnic baskets (no glass) or pre-order one from the ATM Koffiehuis via 082 216 2510 or mz@colegson.co.za – this new coffee shop will also provide food and drinks on the evening.

Dress warmly and take a torch, and a mask. Tickets are R40 per adult, R10 for students and free for children under 6 years and holders of annual permits, available from Computicket or at the gate, and no booking is required.

The evenings are held in aid of “Let’s Read!”, the ATM’s literacy project for children, and visitors are encouraged to donate a new or second-hand children’s book.

The next full moon picnics are on Friday February 18 and Friday March 18. For more information, on the Centre for Astronomical Heritage, visit https://cfah.org.za.

For more information on all the other events, concerts and courses at the ATM, call 021 872 3441/863 0543, or visit taalmonument.co.za

The website also offers virtual tours of the monument and museum, information in six languages on the symbolism of the Taalmonument as well as many interesting articles on Afrikaans, multilingualism and the institution’s past, present and future. There are also many resources for school and research projects.

Annual permits are available at R120 for individuals or R220 per family, which includes access to all full moon picnics.