Happy Lockdown Day 85
I’ve been rather busy – like many in this upside-down world – keeping the wolves at bay. Business is tough leaving little time for writing.

The TGP team (Cheryl Fischer, Robyn Cooper, me) have just completed our sales & marketing effort for the next Buck-in-a-Box delivery into Johannesburg on Monday. Thank you to our clients. Orders are closed but for those interested for next month have a look for details on the attached flyer.

Back in Grahamstown we have revived the Eco-Brick project and the Khanya Trade School has re-opened with all the Covid-19 protocols in place. The opening was approved by Col. Nel at SAPS Grahamstown. A new trainee, Sigqibo Mazungula, has been brought into the workshop and he will be trained to produce jewellery items made from wood and resin.

I’m particularly excited at the opportunity for the Trade School to produce items for resale thereby reinforcing the sustainability of our Trade School model. Thank you to Jane Bradshaw and her donor friend for enabling this opportunity for Sigqibo.

Given Faxi and his team continue at Oatlands Park. Thanks Makana Revive for the financial support and to Country Fresh Foods who generously support Given and Asakhe Faxi’s Soup Kitchen in Joza. Have a look at Asakhe’s series of posts for the excellent work that the Faxi family are doing in Joza during this time of crisis.

With the help of Given’s team we have just kicked off a new project. I’m pretty pumped and thanks to my old mate Chris Norton for inspiring this initiative.

Our home in Grahamstown nestles aside The Albany Sports Club. Two majestic old cricket fields sit comfortably below the big left curve in the railway track as it proceeds up and out of town. Those cricket pitches (or what is left of them) have likely not seen a ball bowled since I watched James Holmes represent the SAC 5th XI in a game of good old-fashioned gentlemen’s cricket in about 2014.
Rugby has seen a similar demise. The grounds are well-maintained by a few committed members but it’s bothered me for some time that there is no sport, or very little, actually happening. A waste of valuable land and a sports club without sports soon becomes a drinking club.
The fields have always been well-used by dog-walkers but Covid has seen a revival of interest in the facility. It warms the heart of a middle-aged man to see young families flying kites and little children clad in colourful winter clothing playing freely in the vast open spaces.
A few weeks ago I was sitting in a quiet spot surveying this scene. The Mountain Drive proudly in the background. The Cathedral and other stately church spires in the middle-ground. Front left, and almost unseen, a pair of dishevelled and forlorn cricket nets.
Although overgrown with grass the basics are in place. The netting is in reasonable nick and the concrete pitch surfaces were laid by people who knew their trade. I recovered sections of the old astro-turf buried in the overgrown grass and under the trees alongside the railway track but they are beyond serviceable use.
My thoughts wandered to Chris Norton and his Lockdown story of reviving the cricket pitch at the old Kasouga Oval. Chris tells me that it was a favourite ground of his cricketing Great-Uncle Eric, a former Headmaster of SAC. I remembered fondly the privilege I enjoyed playing cricket in the nets with Chris’ brother Ant Norton and the inklings of a plan shuffled into place.
Given Faxi and his team got stuck into the task at hand. Refer before and after photos of the nets. What a difference a haircut makes. Thank you Given and team. The idea is to continue the renovations and start a little cricket coaching academy. James Holmes’ brother Cameron Holmes is a useful medium-fast bowler and at age 9 he hit me for six back over my head in the Dads vs Lads fixture. We hope to rope Cam and some of his mates into coaching roles.
While cricket during Covid may be off-limits we’ll take our lead from the local schools. We are particularly interested in affording those without access to facilities the opportunity to learn and practice the wonderful game of cricket. Please contact me directly if you have a group of children that may be interested.
Stay safe and a Happy Friday to you all.


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.