Language Monument or Phallic Symbol?

The Afrikaans Language Monument just outside of Paarl in the Western Cape is impressive.

Afrikaans-Language-Monument

It was designed with the intention of showing how fast Afrikaans, one of the world’s youngest languages, grew through the shape of a rapidly ascending curve.

That’s the intention. The reality is, it’s an embarrassingly large phallic symbol erected by a patriarchal society to boast about its own virility. There are even pseudo-breasts at the base of the spire to carry the imagery even farther.

Symbolic-Structures

Oh sure, the whole structure is filled with symbolism (the three spheres are meant to denote the indigenous languages of isiXhosa, isiZulu and seSotho), but when you stand there, craning your neck up to see the monument ascend into the clouds, language is not the concept that comes to mind first.

Or is that just my mind?

Gareth-Gardens

Even so, the monument is well worth the visit. It’s situated on top of a hill with a breathtaking view over the Paarl landscape and is surrounded by a botanical garden brimful of indigenous plants just perfect for a picnic. You can clamber all over the structure itself, dip your toes in the pool at its centre, if  you’re so inclined, and let your …heart… swell with pride if Afrikaans happens to be your mother tongue. There is even a free guided tour where you can learn all about the history of Afrikaans and the monument itself.

Gareth-Afrikaans-Language-Monument
Monument-Gardens

If you’re in the region and feeling especially fond of your heritage, or you just like to gawk at anything that resembles manly might, then by all means do take an hour or two to explore the Afrikaans Language Monument – it won’t disappoint!

For more posts in the Western Cape Whirlwind 2015 series, click here.

3 Comments

  1. Sune, Ek kan nie glo dat jy so `n aanmerking kan maak en die wereld instuur nie. Die beeld het gekom van `n wenner vir `n n taalmonument kompetissie wat uitgeskryf was. Hierdie is die werk van Jan van Wijk. Argitek wat die kompitissie gewen het. Dit laat my aan baie ander meer hedendaagse wapens van vernietegin dink.Sien hom in sy doel en voorstelling van die Aftrikaanse Taal se vooruitgang.Ek is steeds trots om Afrikaner te wees en dit wat hulle in hierdie land vermag het. Groete, Liefde.

    • 2016-08-29
      Reply

      Oupa, ek is ook trots Afrikaans, en dis interessant dat die ontwerp ‘n kompetisie gewen het – ek sou graag wou sien hoe die res van die inskrywings gelyk het – maar dit verander nie aan die feit dat die monument lyk soos dit lyk nie. Ek is sekerlik nie die enigste persoon wat sulke afleidings maak nie! Die monument is indrukwekkend, en ons as Afrikaners kan daarop trots wees, al kan daar allerhande ander insigte daarin gesien word. Ek is bly Oupa lees darem nog die blog 🙂 Liefde!

  2. Ja dankie vir die antwoord, Sune, elke mens moet maar sy eie afleiding maak. Dit stel ten minste die groei van Afrikaans voor. Die vinnige ontwikkeling en gebruik van Afrikaans as volwaardige Taal.
    Dit is jammer dat ons nou moet veg vir die voortbestaan daarvan,veral op Universiteite. Groete Oupa.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *