Monday in Grahamstown

Sunday was a gorgeous, crisply clear, Autumn-day in Grahamstown.

We hastened up – in the government decreed exercise window – to the Mountain Drive to run the dogs. I’ve been eagerly awaiting such a day. For those not in the know, Mountain Drive lies high above Grahamstown to the south behind the Monument and t’other side the N2. The countryside (known here as commonage) is alive with flora and fauna and the 360 degree views are stunning.

And there is was, the big blue ocean 50km away clearly visible from Grahamstown, replete with a ship miles out to sea near Kenton. My friend and fellow tour-guide in waiting, Otto Ntshebe, told me about this when i first returned to live in Grahamstown. In pre-colonial times the AmaXhosa could, on a clear day, see ships creeping along the coastline. One can only wonder at their thoughts. The occasional little ship creeping past, quite a few ending wrecked upon their shores. Later, about this time in May 1820, there was comparatively much ship action in a bay about 150km further south. On 15th May 1820 one of those ships, the Weymouth, deposited a set of my ancestors upon the beach.

I’m not planning much in the way of commemoration. There was to be a church service in the Cathedral of St Michael and St George on Sunday, but Covid-19 may have taken precedence. Perhaps I’ll listen in to Dean Andrew Hunter’s Sunday service which is now being Zoomed to the world.

I imagine the Methodists will similarly mark the occasion given that it is 200 years since their brand of religion arrived in South Africa. What I will certainly do is take up a perch atop the Mountain Drive and give thanks to the fact that I am here in the magical little city of Grahamstown.


PS – Thank you to Elke Stone (Country Fresh Foods) for their generous support of Given and Asakhe Faxi’s Joza Soup Kitchen.

My appeal this week is for the
Grahamstown Residents’ Association E-RAFFLE fundraiser for the COU’s feeding programme. Refer attached:
Payments via EFT to:
Makana Revive Trust
Standard Bank Grahamstown
Account 28 315 4012
For international followers of TGP, the Swift Code is SBZA ZA JJ.
The GRA is inclusive. The Makhanda Circle of Unity (COU) is an umbrella body representing many stakeholders including the university, business, NGO’s and the local municipality. The money is controlled by Makana Revive Trust.
PPS – The next Buck in a Box delivery into Jhb is 23/24 May. Orders close 17th May. We’ve added a Family Combo pack as well as venison loins and fillet.


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.