Tall shapes on the top of a hill… A monument to a language.

The town of Paarl has a monument dedicated to the language of Afrikaans. On our short sojourn to Cape Town I had the pleasure of visiting the Paarl Golf Course or the Boschenmeer Golf Estate. It was raining and therefore did not allow me the chance to take photos of the course, but on my return to Cape Town I spotted this monument and went for a quick visit.

A monument full of symbolism giving recognition to the roots of the language itself. it was designed by Jan van Wijk, who with a bit of research appeared as one of South Africa’s top architects, who in his time was involved in many monument designs. (Now that I did not know.)

His ashes after his death in 2005 were interred in a boulder where he and his wife would sit and rest when visiting the site of the monument.

Unveiled on 10th October 1975, it is now visible from many of the surrounding roadways that pass the town of Paarl.

The symbolism of the monument goes something like this… the influence of (Europe) Dutch, German, French and English are shown such…. (horrible day for photography but I’ve done my best.)


The influences of the Malay, Malay-Portuguese and Arabic (Asia)


The Khoi languages of isiXhosa, isiZulu and seSotho (Africa)….


“The bridge” represents N.P.van Wyk Louw’s influence in the design….


“The growth of Afrikaans” influenced by C.J. Langenhoven words… (the tallest one)


and then the Republic of South Africa – the birth place of Afrikaans….


Within the tallest piece, which is of a hollow construction, representing the the growth of the language, is a small water feature that makes the most magnificent sound created within the structure….


Just some other photos to try and put all the pieces together in one photo, not an easy thing as this monument is huge….






From the top of the hill is some of the most brilliant views of the surrounding landscape… but due to bad weather I can only post one that gives you an idea… (I’m no landscape photog..) agricultural lands surrounding a mountain covered in snow… (you can’t see the snow for clouds)


I’m in hospital, so might not get round to answering any comments till out of there… but with he abilities of Word Press, I can publish this post whenever I want, irrespective of where I am… (I promise this is not from a hospital bed)


41 thoughts on “Tall shapes on the top of a hill… A monument to a language.

  1. Just beautiful. Inspiring. Amazing concept – of course it would have to be huge – solid – able to be walked around in – and with water placed right where it is. Your description flows along with your photographs. Well done.

      • Language acquisition and how the brain learns to read/interpret symbols – and learn foreign languages fascinates me. Was involved with that research for a while. This huge sculpture’s design is the perfect symbol for all of it. Just beautiful. Thanks again for sharing – would have never seen it otherwise – and that would have been a loss

  2. your language is rich, and the structure captures its richness and grandeur. I hope you are well and good now. somehow I did not see your posts in my reader hence this late visit. 🙂

  3. I find this monument fascinating … and the closing pic is awesome, so the off-weather day came through. More importantly, strength to you during your recovery.

  4. I hope you are being nice to your nurses…or if you’re already home…nice to Linda…which you should do every single day! 🙂 Thinking of you and sending prayers for a good resolution….

  5. Hope you are okay Bulldog. I was fascinated by this post and what you shared, learnt something here today. I think the photos are more spectacular with the gloomy backdrop, gives even more meaning, and that landscape one is breathtaking. See you soon 🙂

  6. Rob, please stop complaining about weather conditions as an excuse for the picture qualities. The quality you have captured in those photos has added to the meaning of the subject. I love the simplicity and majesty of each structure, and the view at the end is breathtaking.

    Hospitals are no place for talented writers and photographers. So I hope the reason you were there ends in a happy way. Is Linda alright???
    Love to both of you; see how your followers care about you?

  7. Interesting post and beautiful countryside. Get out of that hospital as soon as possible Bulldog.

  8. Superb capture of those monumental stones. No doubt it was hard, but did extremely well.

    (Love the new shade of blue on your blog – seems to be easier for my poor eyesight to read the white print).

  9. I do hope you and Linda are both doing well. The mere idea of hospital always gets our thoughts stirred–you know how that goes. 🙂 This monument is really special. I am very fond of this kind of landscape art/architectural monument. The sheer size and the use of boulders and natural elements always really pleases my senses. I think your photos are grand, but I do understand that to capture the best of it you probably needed to be in a helicopter!

  10. This looks just like the memorial for the concentration camp Struthof in France for members of the European resistance who were incarcerated there. I wonder if it is the same architect? I will check. Beautiful work~

  11. Wonderful pictures (with an eery feel to them). Loved your commentary, as well. I am continuing in prayer, Dear Friend, as are my kiddos. Please keep us posted! ~Hugs sent to you and Linda~

  12. Wonderful photographs and monument place dear Rob, but the last one fascinated me, what a great view… I hope and wish everything is fine for you dear, Thank you, love, nia

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