Ons Taal

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Ons Taal ("Our Language") is a name used for both a cultural society, originally founded in Bloemfontein for the promotion of the Dutch language (later the Afrikaans language), and the name of the bilingual Dutch-Afrikaans journal they published.

The association

Originally founded under the Dutch name Onze Taal, by the Rev. W. Postma on 29 August 1908 for the promotion of the Dutch language. At its second public meeting a theatre-division was also formed, and the association became explicitly pro-Afrikaans, although the dominant language remained Dutch.

In 1910, D.F. Malherbe joined the society and the name was later altered to Ons Taal. Later chaired by A. Havenga, with C.F. Visser and Reenen van Reenen also being leading figures.

The association existed from 1908-1934.

The journal Ons Taal

The association also published a Dutch-Afrikaans cultural journal called Ons Taal, aimed at cultral, dramatic and debating societies in South Africa. As part of its effort to promote culture in the country, the journal published plays for production by the societies and also published news about their activities.

Contribution to South African Theatre

Besides its publication of plays and dissemination of cultural news, the association played a significant role in promoting Afrikaans theatre in the city of Bloemfontein.

An early highlight was a performance of the specially-written Heldinne van die Oorlog at the unveiling of the Woman’s Monument in December 1913. Otherwise the did the popular plays of the day - such as Gustav Preller's translation of Charley's Aunt (as Piet s'n Tante, later written Piet se Tante), J.H.H. de Waal's Die Spioen en sy Handlangers,and C.J. Langenhoven's standard works Die Hoop van Suid-Afrika and Die Familiesaak. They considered Fijne Beskuite ("Fine biscuits") one of their triumphs, and it was done numerous times.

[JH, TH]


Ludwig Wilhelm Berthold Binge. 1969. Ontwikkeling van die Afrikaanse toneel (1832-1950). Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 102, 153

P.J. du Toit. 1988. Amateurtoneel in Suid-Afrika. Pretoria: Academica

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