Language practice students from the Soshanguve Campus of the Tshwane University of Technology visited Stellenbosch last week. The 273 students attended a lecture about the practical aspects of lexicography. Dr Willem Botha presented the lecture and Dr Gerda Odendaal provided technical support.

The Hennie Aucamp exhibition wall has been revealed recently in the library of the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal.  The centre of the exhibition is a sketch of Aucamp by the artist Alex Emsley while the focus of a wall as a whole is on the the relationship between Aucamp and the WAT.  The designer Jenny Frost varied size, colour and texture attractively in the exhibition.  Prof. Lina Spies talked about Aucamp as person and artist and selectrions were performed from the US Woordfees production of Aucamp's cabaret Slegs vir Almal. In the photograph: Dr Willem Botha (editor-in-chief and executive director of the WAT), Rina (Aucamp's sister), Prof. Spies and Mari Naude (Rina's daughter).

The Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal has recently presented a concert with Elna van der Merwe and Zorada Temmingh as performing artists in the US Conservatorium as part of its 90th birthday festivities. The annual prize drawing of Sponsor a Word was done by this year's patron, Deon Meyer, and Mr Johan Holtzhausen, chairperson of the WAT Trust. Nanna van Niekerk from Bethal and Thomas West from Tennessee in the USA each won a prize of R25 000 from Sanlam. Mr West is a translator and speaks and writes Afrikaans fluently. Sponsor a Word continues and persons who take part will be included in the prize drawing in 2017. Full particulars are available at Prof. Rufus Gouws, vice-chairperson of the Board of Directors, was the main speaker. From left to right in the photograph: Johan Holtzhausen, Deon Meyer, Marianne Vorster, Rufus and Ilse Gouws, Tersia Botha and Willem Botha, editor-in-chief and executive director.

Nanna van Niekerk (pictured on the left) from Bethal and Thomas West (pictured on the right) from Tennessee in the USA each won R25 000 from Sanlam in the prize drawing of Sponsor a Word on Saturday evening. Thomas West is a translator and therefore sponsored the word "vertaler" exclusively. Nanna sponsored the word "skitterend", as it is always her husband's reply when somebody asks how he is. Their reaction to the good news was:

I am still stunned.  Thank you for the big prize.
Chris owns a civil construction company here in Bethal, and when he answers a telephone call, he always says: "dit gaan SKITTEREND" (things are BRILLIANT). Then I always think that he is a wonderful example to us all.  That is why I bought the word for him.  I never thought it would bring me so much luck.  I did not even know that I was entering a competion.  Thank you again.

It is wonderful news!  I have never won a prize before in my life!
Perhaps I will be able to buy a ticket to South Africa with the money.  That would be very nice.  I wonder what the weather looks like there in winter.

Sponsor a Word continues, and people who sponsor a word now will qualify for next year's prize drawing.

This morning we celebrated our 90st birthday in the traditional manner: with tea and birthday cake!

This year the WAT celebrates its 90th birthday.  Here is a series of photographs that gives an overview of the events during the last 90 years.

Click HERE to download the Powerpoint with photographs.

The WAT staff:
Front: Dr Frikkie Lombard (final editor), Dr Willem Botha (editor-in-chief and executive director), Ms Liza Rademeyer, Mr Gerhard van Wyk (senior co-editor).
Back: Mrs Alet Cloete, Ms Tanja Harteveld, Mrs Rika Stofberg, Mrs Martie Stofberg, Mrs Cecile Brand, Dr Hanelle Fourie Blair, Mrs Engela van der Westhuizen, Ms Nancy Steyn.

A workshop in the use of the Elektroniese WAT in the teaching of Afrikaans was held on 17 March 2016 fro students of the Faculty of Education of the University of Stellenbosch.  On the left-hand photo is Mr Gerhard van Wyk, Dr Hanelle Fourie Blair and Mrs Alet Cloete of the WAT with Dr Michele van der Merwe from the Faculty of Education and a few of the students.  Lesson plans for the use of the Elektroniese WAT in the teaching of Afrikaans were also handed to the students.


The Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal recently received a generous bequest from the estate of the late Prof. Hennie Aucamp. He had a great admiration for the WAT and the work done here.  At the launch of Volume XIV of the WAT in 2013 copies of the volume were presented to Proff. Aucamp, T.T. Cloete and Adam Small.  Dr Willem Botha, editor-in-chief and executive director, and Mr Johan Holtzhausen, chairperson of the WAT Trust, hold a pencil sketch of Aucamp by the artist Alex Emsley. The WAT bought the sketch from the estate.  It will form the focal point of a Hennie Aucamp exhibition at the WAT in Stellenbosch.

Deon Meyer was the guest speaker at the WAT's Woordpret on Friday 20 November.  Bergsig Estate made use of the occasion to introduce their Icarus wines in the presence of the creator of the book Ikarus. Deon fascinated his audience when he revealed details of his next book,with the title Koors, Fever.  He gave a preview of what his readers can expect by reading short extracts from the book. Deon also encouraged the audience to participate in the Sponsor-A-Word competition. Go to to participate.

The Afrikaans rapper Lindley Heynes, better known as Linkris, recently was the performing artist at the Woordpret held at the WAT. The audience was enthusiastic and he encouraged everyone to rap with him.

Deon Meyer is the new patron of Sponsor a Word.  Two participants can each win a prize worth R25  000 from Sanlam. Everyone who sponsors a word gets free access to the online WAT for six months and if you sponsor a word exclusively for R5 000 you get access for five years.  The WAT celebrates its 90th birthday in 2016 and we celebrate already with a Sponsor a Word bonus year! Respond to Deon's appeal and sponsor a word NOW:  Genoeg geflankeer.  Haak af met Afrikaans en borg 'n woordClick HERE to participate.


Hannes van Wyk of Kwêla on kykNET interviewed Deon Meyer, the new patron of Sponsor a Word on 14 October. Hannes van Wyk, Dr Willem Botha and Deon Meyer sit on the couch.


On 6 October a group of 287 third-year language practice students from the Soshanguve Campus of the Tshwane University of Technology attended a lecture by the WAT about lexicography. The lecture focused on the different kinds of dictionaries, the writing of definitions, and the treatment of gender and offensive words and expressions in dictionaries. This is the sixth year that the students from TUT have have been received on campus by the WAT in collaboration with the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch.


Second year students from the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch visited the WAT on 11 August for a lecture in practical lexicography.  The lecture focussed on the difference between sinchronic explanatory dictionaries (such as the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal) and historical explanatory dictionaries (like the Oxford English Dictionary) and on encyclopedicity in dictionaries.




This year Dave Pepler is the patron of Sponsor a Word and he makes the following appeal to all speakers of Afrikaans: “Hoekom is Afrikaans vir my kosbaar? Sonder Afrikaans met sy lieflike en aardse woorde is ek niks nie. As jy ook lief is vir Afrikaans: borg 'n woord, borg ruim!” (“Why is Afrikaans precious to me? Without Afrikaans with its lovely and down-to-earth words I am nothing. If you, too, love Afrikaans: sponsor a word, sponsor generously!”)

Participants may sponsor any Afrikaans word for R100. Each participant also receives a certificate from the WAT with his or her name and the word or words he or she sponsored. For R100 more than one person may sponsor the same word, but each person receives a certificate in his or her name. Sponsorships of R5 000 per word are exclusive, meaning that the word can only be sponsored once. More than 150 words have been sponsored exclusively.

Click here to sponsor a word immediately via the GivenGain website.
Click here for more information.