Seminar: Simon Witbooi: God praat Afrikaans

Book cover God praat AfrikaansWatch the video

Afrikaans is currently much disputed in South Africa and intentionally marginalised, predominantly because of its history. In fact, in many corners of the country many believe it is dead or dying. In this seminar, Simon Witbooi aka Hemelbesem plans to dissect this “corpse” and either prove that the language is alive and well or reanimate it. Using excerpts from his book God Praat Afrikaans, Witbooi will accentuate a number of observations about this young and growing language and will discuss, among other things, those who use it, its distorted representations, its commercial value, its cultural contributions and its art. God Praat Afrikaans, is a critically acclaimed memoire that some critics in South Africa have described as “a book that changed my life” and “a voice for colored people of South Africa”. Witbooi received the Verbondenheids Trophy for its bridge-building qualities amongst diverse Afrikaans speaking groups.

At this seminar Hemelbesem will also perform as a rapper.

Read more about Simon Witbooi (in Afrikaans)


Simon Witbooi aka Hemelbesem

Hemelbesem (Simon Witbooi) is a tv and radio personality, actor, author, speaker and performer/artist who's main focus is building bridges in Afrikaans. He has received the "Kruispunt Prize" from "Kunste Onbeperk" 2016, the "Verbondenheids Trophy" 2017 for his book and general work in Afrikaans. He is the ambassador for Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV) Crescendo and along with University of Stellenbosch's "Woorde Open Werelde" (WOW) speaks yearly on this topic at schools in South Africa. As of October 2017 he will be the new ambassador for the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (WAT).

Date, time and location

07 September 2017
15.30 - 17.00
Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden
Room 1A27 (first floor)