Green Gallery amateur creatives

Visit the open-air gallery, above, at the Taal Monument in Paarl.

In the run-up to Heritage Day on Monday September 24, the Afrikaans Language Museum and Monument (ATM) joins creative forces with the independent journal litnet.co.za and the ATKV-Skryfskool to exhibit lesser-known poets’ work at the monument’s Green Gallery.

According to Michael Jonas, ATM director, the institution is a living monument where there is a continuous interaction between the structure, nature, visitors and language creators.

“We would like to give less-known writers, musicians and poets a chance to expose their work to a larger audience.

“Most visitors are not only very interested in the history of Afrikaans, but also curious about the language’s development and her latest creative incarnations as it offers new perspectives on the worlds of many Afrikaans-speaking Africans.”

Considering that the theme of this year’s Heritage Month is “The Year of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: Advancing Transformation of South Africa’s Heritage Landscape”, it is appropriate that this iconic monument plays a role in promoting social cohesion by acquainting visitors with new, diverse Afrikaans voices.

“After all, Mandela’s saying ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head; if you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart,’ still holds true,” says Mr Jonas.

The 11 poets are Carma Shaw, Deon Swanepoel, Ilze Lammers, Japhta Makwena, Kim Cloete, Marius Coetzee, Monn-lee Geduld, Ricardo Arendse, Sunelle Geyer, Susanne Pike and Willem de Vries who represent a wide range of interests, histories and writing styles.

The architect of the monument, Jan van Wijk, felt strongly about nature and therefore he is honoured by this open-air gallery where his ashes are embedded in a rock, surrounded by indigenous olive trees and granite.

Every few months an exhibit of various Afrikaans writers’ works is presented in the gallery’s display cases, made from recycled wood and glass, to focus on the cultural and ecological aspects of the monument.

LitNet is a widely-acclaimed multi-lingual interactive journal on the internet where writers can publish their stories, thoughts, columns, articles and opinions.

The ATKV-Skryfskool has been in existence since 1985 and offers a variety of short writing courses to anyone who wants to start writing creatively or who wants to improve their creative writing.

The public can view the exhibition from now until January 2019. The monument, which is also the starting point of Paarl’s Tree Trail, is open from 8am to 5pm. Access is R30 for adults, R10 for students and pensioners, and R5 for children (free under six years).

Audio guides in various languages as well as free guided tours are available, and the monument also offers a playground for children, hiking trails and a restaurant. Visit www.taalmonument.co.za