The Wilds

Spent a few days in Joburg.
Fascinating piece of work on the go.
Opportunity to be with my eldest son, James.
4th year Wits medical student.
We visited The Wilds. Transformed City Park.
For years a “No Go Zone”.
City folk scared away by Bad Guys.
They too departed leaving The Wilds abandoned.
Neglected. Overgrown. Unloved.


The Grahamstown Project is inspired by many.
James Delaney for one. An extraordinary chap.
Internationally acclaimed artist with a studio overlooking The Wilds.
James (and his dog, Pablo) set about reclaiming the park.
Lopping branches, painting benches, clearing bush.
Unbelievably – or perhaps unsurprisingly – he encountered resistance.
From the municipality.
And even residents!
“It’s the municipality’s job!” they cried.
“Have a nice day”, responded James.

James ploughed on, gaining momentum and support.
His artworks – and others – now adorn the park.
Not just a park transformed. People’s lives touched.
Meaning created for Parks employees.
This Sunday he’s hosting a guided walk through The Wilds.
Over-subscribed, I’m told.
The Wilds – reclaimed for City folk
and strict measures ensure bad guys stay away.

How many disused, abandoned, neglected, overgrown,
unloved parks (and other spaces) do we have in Grahamstown?
Where are our James Delaney’s?

James was educated at St. Andrew’s College, Grahamstown
Graham House, 1989.
Delaney Artist


Before moving back to Grahamstown in Oct 2017, Graeme was a bank executive based in the big smoke and craziness of Joburg. He has 20 years’ experience in the Payments Industry. He is a Chartered Accountant, has a Masters in Management by Research (MMR) from Wits Business School, and attended an Advanced Management Programme (AMP) offered by INSEAD (The Business School for the World!) in France.  

Graeme is the founder of The Grahamstown Project. It’s simple. He says, “Grahamstown is a microcosm of South Africa. If we can’t get this place to function properly then the whole country is stuffed. Many of the troubles we experience as a country today have their roots here in Grahamstown. it is here where black and white people first engaged in conflict on the African continent. It is here where 9 wars of dispossession over 100 years took place and virtually destroyed the amaXhosa nation. But we are where we are. I don’t have a British passport and the boat-trip back to where my ancestors came from is exorbitantly expensive. Furthermore, this is my home. I am a son of Africa. We must work together to redress the injustices of the past and move as one into a brighter future.”

Graeme is an avid historian, writer, vlogger and public speaker. Like and follow the Facebook page. Join him on a tour. Contact him. He would love that.