With Afrikaans increasingly being buffeted by strong head winds, Dagbreek Trust, in collaboration with like-minded organisations and role-players, decided to join forces and launch a comprehensive campaign to boost Afrikaans anew and establish the language as a strong brand.
According to Dr Theuns Eloff, chairman of Dagbreek Trust, a loyal and long-time platinum sponsor of the Pendoring Advertising Awards, the campaign was conceptualised following a think-tank about the future of Afrikaans some two years ago, which was attended by all Afrikaans-orientated organisations. “Fact is that Afrikaans is politically under pressure, and the time has come for all those who love the language to work together to ensure its future,” he stresses.
Insofar as Pendoring has been promoting Afrikaans advertising for over two decades, the Awards and Dagbreek Trust – the latter was created in the Thirties with the explicit purpose of promoting the Afrikaans language and culture in the widest sense – are ideal bedfellows. Dagbreek Trust will therefore continue supporting Pendoring, Eloff adds.
In collaboration with, and to the benefit of existing Afrikaans projects, actions and organisations, Campaign Afrikaans’s strategy is aimed at promoting the charm, uniqueness, diversity and usefulness of Afrikaans.
“It is important for Afrikaans speakers to complete their life’s journey in Afrikaans and not to become negative and throw in the towel. In the Thirties, Afrikaans speakers also became despondent about English dominance, but this later changed. And it can change once again,” stresses Eloff.
At the centre of the initiative is a media campaign consisting of outdoor, TV, radio and print advertisements showing how many people, old and young, across colour and cultural divides, enjoy speaking Afrikaans. Campaign Afrikaans invites all South Africans via a competition offering attractive prizes to strut their stuff, in Afrikaans.
A brand new, comprehensive website and most useful resource, afrikaans.com, is another main element of Campaign Afrikaans. The campaign and website are both financed by Dagbreek Trust.
According to Eloff, the website wants to be the meeting place for all people who consider themselves part and parcel of the language family – whether it be close, from a distance or co-incidentally – as well as for anyone who wants to learn more about Afrikaans and its activities, or those who are simply inquisitive about the world of Afrikaans, he adds.
“Afrikaans.com not only wants to take the lead in creating an online movement that positively markets and promotes Afrikaans, it wants to be a personal frame of reference for the consumer in terms of information, entertainment and education. It should be accessible at all times, wherever users may move or be.”
Equipped with various beacons to facilitate the search through the Afrikaans landscape, you will find on afrikaans.com everything you would want to know. “It is a lively, dynamic and organic channel that delivers a service to the consumer and includes topics such as Relax, Experience, Learn and Share, with sections for music, books, food, a useful festival calendar and web catalogue. All bigger organisations, festivals, performances and projects are also marketed on the web through click-through links to related websites.”
At afrikaans.com, visitors can participate in various fun competitions, thereby contributing to the preservation of a legacy for the entire language community.
Dagbreek Trust fully supports the competition of the Virtual Institute for Afrikaans (VivA) on afrikaans.com, titled Varsgebek.
This competition gives language users the opportunity to enter new words, technical terms, expressions, idioms of regional language that have not yet been included in dictionaries or other languages sources. Besides monthly prizes, all the entries will be presented to lexicographers for possible inclusion in dictionaries and databases.
On afrikaans.com, people can also vote for their favourite book or song to ensure that it finds a place on Afrikaans.com’s list of top songs and books.
A number of well-known Afrikaans leaders in their fields have been appointed Campaign Afrikaans ambassadors and patrons. Visitors to the website are also invited to nominate more ambassadors.
Another objective of Dagbreek Trust is to promote and preserve Afrikaans in education; hence it has created a parallel educational trust named Trust for Afrikaans Education.
In order to lure more Afrikaans pupils to traditionally Afrikaans schools and maintain these schools as educational bastions of excellence, Trust for Afrikaans Education, together with Atterbury Trust, will initiate a project to assist with the financing and building of new hostels at a number of top Afrikaans schools in rural areas. “This is an investment in the future of Afrikaans schools as the money, which will be repayable over a certain period, will be rolled over and invested in more Afrikaans schools. Afrikaans adolescents must know: if they study hard and deliver the goods, there will always be a place for them in South Africa,” says Eloff.
According to Franette Klerck, Pendoring GM, the ongoing support of a deserving organisation like Dagbreek Trust, is of immeasurable value. “Quietly but steadfastly, Dagbreek Trust goes about its job to promote Afrikaans and cultivate goodwill towards the language in various fields – a leader in word and deed which, with its considerable Pendoring sponsorship, will help to give Afrikaans and indigenous language advertising a place in the sun.”