The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Western Cape says it refuses to adopt any proposed changes to the name of the Afrikaans Language Monument in Paarl without a fight.
The party says the DA-led provincial government has written to Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, requesting to take over the management of the monument.
This comes amid a furor over the possible renaming of the monument erected over four decades ago to celebrate the language and its heritage.
A number of Afrikaans artists have also taken to the stage at a concert in the town to mark their opposition to any possible name change.
Watch: DA marches to oppose name change of Language Monument in Paarl.
Zimbabwean Tino Singe (20), who speaks Shona as his first language, fell in love with Afrikaans after his family relocated to South Africa when he was a toddler. The second-year agricultural student now speaks Afrikaans fluently and performs in the language he loves.
“Afrikaans is a beautiful language, a universal language, a language that unites people cultures from different parts of the world. When my own people saw me trying to learn Afrikaans, I think it motivated them and I liked the way they respected me in trying out this new language.” Tino says.
Singe is among a group of Afrikaans artists who performed at the #WysJou Taal protest concert in demonstrating their opposition to any proposed change to the name of the Language Monument.
Actor and musician, Reggie Peace says, “Afrikaans is the language of my grandparents, and it’s the language of my parents. It is the language that I grew up with, I went to Afrikaans schools, so now they are just saying let’s take it away and replace it with something else. For me, that defeats the whole purpose of inclusion.”
‘Afrikaans language was born in Africa’
The Afrikaans language monument was opened in 1975 to mark 50 years since Afrikaans was declared an official language in South Africa. It consists of various obelisk-type structures which symbolise the influences of different languages and cultures to Afrikaans.
Freedom Front’s André Fourie says, “The high one represent the Dutch influence because that is where Afrikaans comes from. It also represents the influence of other Europeans languages like the French and Huguenots. The middle there’s a little wall that also represents a community of Asian descent, the Malay slaves that came to South Africa.”
He says Minister Mthethwa should come and look at the Monument himself, adding that it also represents the influence of black people in South Africa such as the Khoi, the BaSotho and the Nguni groups which all influenced the establishment of the Afrikaans language.
The DA has labelled any proposed name change as preposterous. DA interim leader, Tertius Simmers adds, “For us this is part of a proud heritage not only of Paarl but it speaks to Afrikaans as a language, which is proudly and was born in Africa. It also speaks to the multicultural facets of Afrikaans and by changing the name you actually seek to change so much more but the language itself.”
📺[WATCH] Are you wondering why the DA and many South Africans are fighting to protect the Afrikaanse Taalmonument? Have a look at the interview below with DA Provincial Leader, @tertuis23, to learn more. (Via @eNCA)https://t.co/TWTzq3vhc5
— DA Western Cape (@WesternCapeDA) May 28, 2022