Set in stone, rounded by symbolism

One of my fellow bloggers initiates and administers an Afrikaans writing challenge and this week it was about what your reaction would be if Afrikaans should vanish. It made me think about the roots of Afrikaans, books I read and experiences I had. About 28 years ago with a group of about 40 students, we cycled from the University of Port Elizabeth to the University of Stellenbosch. Along the way we visited the Afrikaanse Taalmonument in Paarl (Monument for the Afrikaans Language) and mentioned all of this in what I posted. And then this week’s WordPress photo challenge introduced itself: rounded

The monument’s architecture certainly lends itself to this weeks’s challenge. For the first time ever I took all the photos purposefully for the challenge. I drove there Saturday morning early before opening time. They allowed me in and for 45 minutes I was alone. It was an experience which fed my soul and inspired my spirit. In fact I decided to feature only one aspect of the monument (but I am still to write a post where I will take my blogger friends on tour with me). The photo opportunities were simply too bountiful to give a total experience.

⇓Many people wonder why a monument for a language has this shape. In 1914 the primary advocate for Afrikaans CJ Langenhoven gave a lecture stating that if Afrikaans keeps on growing like it did the previous 10 years, the growth curve will go straight up into the air. Afrikaans kept on growing and 11 years later Afrikaans was recognized as an official language for the first time.  This inspired the architect, Jan Van Wijk to include the arc of  the growth. Effectively  adding a mathematical chart to the other symbolism. The monument was opened in 1975, celebrating the 50th year as an official language 

⇓Stairway to heaven? I am standing inside the “chart” right underneath the highest point. My youngest daughter looked at the photo and asked if you can climb up there. She was under the impression that these ridges will enable you to do it – she obviously doesn’t have vertigo.

⇓ If you focus higher up, the ridges become even more defined. However I will not suggest you climb up there especially at night because at night the ridges vanishes. The illusion of ridges are due to light flowing in from small squares in the tower placed equidistantly apart and falling on the curve.

⇓Photography and in this case flash photography, is necessary to enhance our vision. Because of the limited light, the richness of this ocher coloured orb cannot be enjoyed by the naked eye, as it appears dull. It is right underneath the highest point of the tower and light filtering in through various openings is not enough to bring forth its true colour.

⇓Set in stone but rich in symbolism. With the orb right behind me, a curving abstract view, lies before me.

⇓In the photo above the mountains peek out. The monument has mountains right around it and offers many curving opportunities to frame the mountains.

⇓Having a view of the mountains, its aesthetics is further enhanced by exquisitely kept gardens, where you can have picnics and an arboretum with 48 species of trees which you can hike at leisure.

Walking through the gardens I saw this heart growing on a rock and the shadow of a tree hugging the heart. It is good to see that there are rock hard heart huggers out there!

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

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26 thoughts on “Set in stone, rounded by symbolism

    1. Afrikaans won’t die out soon, but it is now one of 11 official languages (which is only fair that all the country’s languages are official languages) but in practice English is the language of business and the practical language being used when different people groups are together. Thanks for the follow 🙂 😉 😉 😉 😉

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  1. Wonderful post Abrie. Is Afrikaans the language of most of your comments? Which is your usual language day to day? I’m sorry we missed this amazing structure. We did visit stellenbosch were we nearby? You’ve done a great job of showing the monument’s beauty and unique architecture. Love the finishing quote.

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    1. Thanks Tina I wonder why i had to moderate your comment and I see your photo is missing. Yes the comments are in Afrikaans and that is my hone language. But at work about 70% communication is in English. Stellenbosch is only 30km from Paarl

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