Happy Friday in Grahamstown

My friend Jane Bradshaw and I went one step further than entering a bank with face-masks on. We sauntered in to a police station. 😂
Personally I wouldn’t have gone with the Canary Yellow paint option but otherwise our visit deep into the corridors of law enforcement in Grahamstown was an excellent experience. The reason for our visit was to obtain permission to re-open the Khanya Trade School.
Our appointment was with Colonel Pika, the Station Commander, but he’d been called away on urgent business. We met with Colonel Nel instead. Jane had already put the case to Col. Pika on the telephone and Col. Nel was familiar with the matter. He listened attentively, asked probing questions, nodded his head sagely as we sang for our supper, and finished off by cracking a few on point jokes. Simple as that. Our business successfully concluded.
The Trade School – with all Covid-19 protocols in place – will welcome our 3 trainees back into the workshop on 1 June 2020.
Meanwhile, I see College and The DSG are welcoming the first draft of their scholars back to those hallowed halls on 8 June 2020. Not a moment too soon. Whatever this disease is it certainly doesn’t appear dangerous to young people.
I don’t want to rock into the scientific debate but if human beings are ever going to gather in groups again, the right subjects to put into those groups are young people.

I was thus surprised to read an article this week in the Daily Maverick titled, “A plea from parents: We would rather our children repeat the school year than put their health at risk.”
Smells fishy to me. A bit like restaurants and fires at this stage of the economic cycle. Perhaps I’m wrong on this specific case but the open letter written by 100 parents in Johannesburg reeks of dirty politics.
Yeh, sure, In any population there is always a set of lunatics but if this lot is really motivated by concern for children, I’ll eat my hat and my face-mask. For those like Col. Nel needing matters properly spelt out, there are elements in our large cast of shady political characters who’d like to see this Covid-19 pandemic drawn out for as long as possible.
Fortunately good sense prevails in Grahamstown. As I have commented many times before, our little city is knee deep in problems and up to our eyeballs in sh1t. However, we do have a sense of community and structures in place that are proving invaluable in our fight to contain and fight Covid-19.
Hats off (sorry, not face-masks) to those behind the Makhanda Circle of Unity Day of Solidarity and their campaign on 29 May to show concern and collect funds for the hungry.
The Grahamstown Project, along with about a hundred other organisations, is supporting the day of Fasting in Grahamstown on 29 May. The idea is that people – without doing themselves harm or placing themselves at risk – fast for the day and donate the money they would have spent on food to those half-starved to death.
One potential supporter – a large unnamed corporate – got the wrong end of the baton and wrote the organizers a lengthy missive on the risks associated with Covid-19 and fasting. One of those letters that starts, “We regret to inform you” and then goes on gayly to say they don’t want to play in the same sand-pit as the rest of the children.
Perhaps I should ask Col. Nel (all 6 foot five of him) to have a little chat to the prat that penned those words. One thing Col. Nel will not be doing is door to door checks that people are actually fasting and donating the accurately calculated saving on the food budget line. That is not the spirit of the day. I have little doubt that he, like me, will be fasting himself. SAPS, represented by the Joza Cluster Commander Col Magazi, is supporting the Day of Solidarity in Makhanda on 29 May 2020.
You too are invited to join the people of Grahamstown / Makhanda in showing concern for the hungry within our City. Please read the attached and take it from there. Happy Friday all!
PS – Any donations from abroad should be directed to the makana-revive.org.za web site where donors can use Payfast.

GRAEME HOLMES

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.