Afrikaans Language Monument (Afrikaanse Taalmonument) and Museum

Afrikaans Language Monument (Afrikaanse Taalmonument) and Museum

The purpose of the Afrikaans Language Monument (Afrikaanse Taal monument) and Museum was originally to pay tribute to the people that played such an important role in the process of getting Afrikaans recognized as an official language. The evolution of Afrikaans from Dutch is traced here. Afrikaans is presented as a living language on these historic premises.

One important group in this respect was the Association for True Afrikaners (ATA) that was founded in this house on the 14th of August 1875. Their circumstances and the spirit of their times are portrayed as accurately as possible so that visitors can get a clearer picture of the work they did and the obstacles they had to overcome.

It is also the purpose of the Museum to present various aspects of the language, its development, its variants and its character in the modern context, so that visitors can understand that it is indeed a living, growing language that is constantly adapting itself to the modern world.

The top floor of the Afrikaans museum in Paarl presents the story and the personalities behind the development of the language. The exhibits are imaginatively presented as games, soundtracks and interactive displays. Exhibits are translated into English, so speaking Afrikaans is not a prerequisite.

The Afrikaans Language Museum is best visited in conjunction with the Taal Monument or the Afrikaans Language Monument, which towers above Paal from a hillock just outside town. Its columns and curves represent the pillars of Afrikaans - namely its diverse intercontinental influences, and its sweeping growth.


The Afrikaans language is approximately 300 years old and, compared to the other languages of the world, it is relatively young. It is a unique language, because its roots are spread over three different continents, ie Europe, Africa and Asia and it has mother tongue speakers across the boundaries of race, creed and culture. The Monument was unveiled on 10 October 1975 and it pays tribute to the diverse roots of Afrikaans and the people that use the language.

The Afrikaans language Museum is now situated in this building where one may view the first printing press used to produce Afrikaans publications such as "Die Patriot". The Monument's design has specific meanings: Three linked columns symbolise the contribution of the Western world to Afrikaans, three rounded shapes represent the contribution of Africa, and a wall for the contribution of the Malaysian people. A fountain symbolizes new ideas and a pillar soaring 57 meters above the fountain represents the growth of the language.

The house was built by Gideon Malherbe in 1860 in the Georgian style. On the top floor the exhibition presents the development of Afrikaans and its various aspects. He was a wealthy wine farmer and business man in Paarl and also one of the founding members of the Association for True Afrikaners (ATA).

The ground floor of the house has been restored to the state it had been in during the last quarter of the 19th Century. The rooms on the ground floor that have been restored to their former state are the entrance hall, the dining room, the lounge and Gideon Malherbe's bed room.

The ATA's printing press has also been returned to the children's room where it was used in the beginning. These rooms have been refurnished with the original pieces of furniture and ornaments as far as possible. Where it was impossible to obtain the original pieces, reproductions have been made. Some examples in this respect are the chairs around the table in the dining room and the wallpaper. Most of the original pieces were donated or made available by members of the family or the general public.

The latter was established in this house on 14 August 1875. The Association played an important part in the movement to get Afrikaans recognised as an official language of South Africa and one that is more than adequate for the creation and practice of litarature, theology and science. The success of the Association and the way they inspired others to continue their task, prompted the decision to establish a museum for the Afrikaans language in Gideon Malherbe House.

The Afrikaans Language Monument was unveiled on 10 October 1975 during the centenary year of the founding of the Society of True Afrikaners (STA). It was designed by the architect Jan van Wijk and he was inspired by the environment with its round granite rocks and by the words of two Afrikaans authors, NP van Wyk Louw (Afrikaans stands with one leg in Africa and with the other in the West) and CJ Langenhoven (Afrikaans is a rapidly ascending curve). At present visitors can learn more about the diverse roots of Afrikaans; a language that is about 300 years old and also about the people that speak it.

The Museum also pays tribute to the people that played such an important part in getting Afrikaans recognised as an official language in its own right. The amphitheater at the Taal monument, as well as the small amphitheater, is available for public functions.

Writers' Functions

These are sociable functions, which are presented by the Museum at least once every quarter.

Afrikaans writers and other artists are invited to these functions to talk about their work or present their work in the form of lectures, musical presentation or drama. Guests are also afforded the opportunity of asking questions on the work. Refreshments are usually served at these events with the intention of creating an amiable atmosphere, allowing the guests and the invited writer an opportunity to get to know each other. The writer’s functions are advertised in the local press and on Cape radio stations. Interested persons can contact the Museum for more information.

Picnic & music

The monument is open until 8pm every evening during the summer season. Make the most of the lovely weather - pack a picnic basket and head to the monument on top of Paarl Mountain for the best views of our valley. With live acoustic guitar music every Saturday and Sunday from 17:00 – 18:00.

Taal monument (Language Monument) Restaurant & Curio

The restaurant with the best view over Table Mountain, the lush valleys and vineyards.

Enjoy our local wines, good traditional food and friendly service. A la carte, Sunday buffet, picnic baskets and functions for up to 50 persons.
Tel: +27 21 863-2800
Fax: +27 21 863-1797


The gardens of the Monument are worthy of a visit in their own right and visitors can spend quite a while admiring the breathtaking views and the indigenous flora.

A large number of the plants in the gardens are labelled for the enlightenment of visitors. The paths are layed out quite generously and there are benches at regular intervals where visitors can rest and take in the view.

Rest Rooms

There are a number of well equipped toilets for visitors on the premises.

Hiking trails

There are a number of hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty around the Monument. Some of these also connect with the longer trails maintained by the Department of Nature Conservation on Paarl Mountain.

Mountain biking

Some of the trails around the Monument can also be used by mountain biking enthusiasts. The site is also suitable for the organising of mountain biking competitions.

Photo shoots and filming sessions

The Museum often shows old Afrikaans films. These functions usually include refreshments and a performance by a guest artist. The film shows are advertised in the local press and on Cape radio stations.

The Monument and its grounds are regularly used for commercial and private photo shoots and filming sessions, eg

  • by the advertising industry for the marketing of products and services
  • or for the shooting of wedding photographs

Photo shoots and filming sessions are usually arranged with the Director. Interested persons can contact the Museum for more information.

Afrikaans Forum

Afrikaans Forum is the Afrikaans Language Museum’s quarterly newsletter, which is distributed by ordinary mail or e-mail to anyone who wishes to know more about the Museum’s activities. Interested persons can send their e-mail address to the Museum and request that their details be placed on the mailing list so that they can receive a newsletter.
Presently the newsletter is only available in Afrikaans, but anybody who needs more information is more than welcome to contact the museum directly.

Special Educational Programmes

The Afrikaans Language museum offers a modern exhibition on the roots, variants and expressions of Afrikaans. The audiovisual exhibition is an exciting introduction to the language and the people who speak it. The hands-on, minds-on and interactive displays make a visit to this museum an enjoyable as well as an educational experience.

Special educational programmes take place at the museum throughout the year to celebrate special events such as International Mother Tongue Day, World Book Day and International Museum Week. Schools are invited to take part in these celebrations. The museum also presents an annual poetry competition for grade 11 and 12 learners. Contact the museum for more information about the programmes on this year’s calender.

Available Venues

The Language Museum’s administration building, the Historium, has 2 venues, which are available for hire for functions or conferences.

Directions (both south and north approaching)

  • Take the number 55 offramp off the N1 onto Main Road - Paarl
  • Take a left into Main Road
  • Stay on Main Road for approximately 4km, passing several robots and crossings until McDonalds can be seen on the left. Directly opposite McDonalds, Pastorie Avenue will turn off to the right
  • Follow Pastorie Avenue for approximately 200m, where you will see the Language Museum on your right

Museum Hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm, Saturday 9am to 1pm.
Monument Hours: Daily 8.15am to 5pm
Museum Admission Fees: R10 (adults), R2 (children)
Monument Admission Fees: Adults R10, R2 for children

Visiting Address and Contact Of Afrikaans Language Monument (Afrikaanse Taal monument) and Museum

Museum: Gideon Malherbe House, 11 Pastorie Avenue, Paarl.
Monument: Paarl Mountain, Paarl 7646
Postal Address: The Curator, P.O. Box 498, Paarl 7620
Tel: Director - +27 (0)21 872-3441, Gate - +27 21 (0)863-4809, Restaurant - +27 (0)21 863-2800
Fax: +27 21 872-3642 / 871-1106
Email: (Museum), (Monument)
Afrikaans Language Museum and Monument On The Web:
Afrikaans Language museum