Hg2 : The Hedonist

Taal Monument

One of the most controversial and admired monuments in Cape Town, the Afrikaans Language Monument, overlooking South Africa’s third-oldest town, appears to suggest some eternal skyward thrusting: perhaps signalling the immense aspirations of the cultural movement it symbolizes, or perhaps a religious ambition linking this world with heaven. Though Afrikaans is a hybrid language drawing on Dutch, English, French, Malay, German and multiple indigenous languages, it has been stigmitized as the language of the oppressor, and strongly associated with Apartheid policies, especially those designed to establish Afrikaans as the dominant mode of education (which triggered the Soweto riots in 1976, widely thought to have been the beginning of the end of Apartheid). Nevertheless, it’s easily forgotten that Afrikaans is also spoken widely by non-White communities, and is the official language of the Cape Coloureds (as the local mixed race group is referred to), who form the majority of the city’s population. The precise symbolism of this 1975 monument – designed by Jan van Wijk – is pretty convoluted (and explained on-site), but in essence, the futuristic-looking structure pays homage to all of Afrikanerdom’s cultural roots (with the main 57- metre column representing Afrikaans itself). There’s not all that much to see or do here, but the views are spectacular. Full moon picnic events are held from December through March, when all the lights are switched off and the glowing disc in the heavens above becomes part of a thoroughly surreal spectacle.

Paarl Mountain, just outside Paarl,
+27 21 872 3441
Opening Times
daily, 8am-8pm (5pm May-Aug)
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