Monday in Grahamstown

A great weekend in Grahamstown. Rhodents enthusiastically in town doing what varsity students do best in Feb. Party and Fun 101.

Other guests in town are players, coaches, parents etc for two big water polo tournaments. The Annual SAC Shield (boys) at St Andrew’s and the Brian Baker tournament for girls at Kingswood. Great to catch up with old mates who’ve come to watch their kids compete (at times, seemingly savage each other) in the pool.


Big business for Grahamstown. Hosting sports tournaments, that is. Could be multiple times bigger – with profitable spin-off’s – if we cleaned the face of our town and conquered a few basic service delivery issues.

I’m not a regular at water polo but enjoyed the action. In and around the pool. See quick video.

Most visitors – some interested in sending their kids to Rhodes – asked about the deplorable state of our town and the various legal cases in progress. It’s a long conversation of background, insights and glimmers of hope such as the Circle of Unity programme.

On some of the legal wrangles. The name change, I explained, is far from settled so hang back before addressing your application to Rhodes University, Makhanda.

An application to review the name change – gazetted in Oct 2018 – was dismissed in Nov 2019. Leave to appeal Judge Murray Louw’s decision has been filed. All hinges on whether a proper process was followed by Minister Mthethwa.

Point being that until such time as the legal process is complete (or a significant chukka ends) the status quo remains. Same as Judge Igna Stretch’s decision that Council be dissolved forthwith for failure to provide services to the community. Forthwith means immediately, without delay.

Fact is I’m meeting soon with Mayor Mzukisi Mpahlwa. He’s still very much in office. Council voted (with Premier Mabuyane’s support) to appeal Judge Stretch’s decision. He has every right to wait for the hooter of the legal process to sound before deciding (or being told) at which office to spend his working week.

So, Mr Mpahlwa remains Honourable Mayor Councillor Mzukisi Mpahlwa, and we should guard against assuming the name Grahamstown away in favour of Makhanda.

Note, I bear no axe against Makhanda (the process seemed rather rushed and out of the murky blue) and I like the Honourable Mayor. Done some good things, but as Mayor, and senior ANC leader, he should take accountability for years of rot and the fact that a flotilla of polo players are not thrashing through the water, polo-ball at the nose, to submit their applications to study (and party) in Grahamstown.



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.