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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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