Happy Womens Day

I trust those in South Africa enjoyed a special Women’s Day yesterday. Circumstances enabled the privilege of breakfast with my mother in Jhb and dinner with Vanessa in Grahamstown.

Aside from celebrating and remembering the women in South Africa – past and present – it was, for me, a day of reflection.

Don’t know about you but I’m feeling pretty down about politics in South Africa at the minute.

Yes, I understand the game – it’s simple really. Say and do whatever necessary to secure votes. Should be short, medium and long-term but what’s currently spewed forth can only be (hear my prayer) short-term electioneering. Served up with mistruths, omissions and devilish pork pies.

As example, take recent statements by Mr Nathi Mthethwa. Only 332* objections to the Grahamstown / Makhanda name change! Bulldust and poppycock! Disgraceful misinformation. Small comfort that unless he hurriedly sobers up the government will be sued and his personal wallet emptied.

My real concern is leadership. Those in power sowing hatred and division where understanding and reconciliation required. Albertina Sisulu, Helen Suzman and Helen Joseph would be appalled. Thuli Madonsela is solemnly on her knees.

CR should be conscience-stricken. I understand he’s navigating the precipice of party politics but the country desperately needs principled leadership. Regular citizens debased to hatred. Refer Facebook comments on Expropriation without Compensation. Mostly vile from all quarters. Shameful. Of course EWC is economic suicide – elementary economics should be offered free by all universities – but to white folks out there, listen and look carefully for the real issues. Take a walk through your local “township”. Drink in the sour cup of poverty and the dying eyes of hopelessness. Wear an impoverished woman’s shoes for a day as a thought experiment.

Then go home, hug a special woman (or man) in your life and live with love in your heart. Consult a favoured book of parables and poetry. Or read the preamble to the Constitution of our miracle country. Recommended with the National Anthem playing in the background.

Ok then, I’m feeling better now. I salute the women of South Africa and the special women in my life.

We, the people of South Africa,
Recognise the injustices of our past;
Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land;
Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and
Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.
We therefore, through our freely elected representatives, adopt this Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic so as to –
Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights;
Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law;
Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person; and
Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.
May God protect our people.
Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika. Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso. God seën Suid-Afrika. God bless South Africa. Mudzimu fhatutshedza Afurika. Hosi katekisa Afrika.

*According to Jock McConnachie (KGG and Grahamstown Eye), “the 332 must include the KGG’s submission as 1 whereas it is on behalf of +-10000 individual objectors”. Copies of all those objections were delivered to Minister Nathi Mthethwa.


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.