Origin of the Afrikaans Language Museum
August 14, 1975 was the centenary of the establishment in Paarl of
the "Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners" (G.R.A., 'Company of True
Afrikaners'). The Company's intent was to promote the Afrikaans
Language - which at that time already was the spoken language of
thousands of people - to a written language, to have it become
acceptable as a reading language, and recognized as the official
language of the country. That way it would also become the language
of the schools, the Bible and the pulpit.
This activity is known as the Afrikaans Language advancement effort,
and the G.R.A. was the organisation which gave form and content to
the first phase of this effort.
It was to celebrate the anniversary of the Afrikaans Language
advancement effort that the Afrikaans Language Monument Committee
established a memorial for the Afrikaans language on Paarl mountain.
The committee also wanted to honor the pioneers, founders, other
members and helpers of the G.R.A. and to exhibit the development
of the First Afrikaans Language advancement effort.
This would be
achieved by means of the museum, to be established in the very house
where the G.R.A. was founded: the large home of the respected Paarl
wine farmer and businessman Gideon Malherbe, who was a founding
member of the G.R.A. Fortunately, his home had been well-preserved.
The Language Monument Committee bought the house in 1971 and had
it restored under the supervision of Gabriel Fagan, an architect
from Capetown. The actual work was performed by the laborers of
Historical House Ltd.
The ceremonial and festival opening of the
museum took place on August 14, 1975.
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