The Grahamstown Project https://thegrahamstownproject.com Share A Living Legacy Sun, 29 Mar 2020 23:05:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4 https://thegrahamstownproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/cropped-Favicon-Big-1-32x32.png The Grahamstown Project https://thegrahamstownproject.com 32 32 Monday in Grahamstown https://thegrahamstownproject.com/2020/03/23/monday-in-grahamstown-5/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=monday-in-grahamstown-5 Mon, 23 Mar 2020 17:38:05 +0000 https://thegrahamstownproject.com/?p=13118
Monday in Grahamstown

A week has passed since Pres Ramaphosa’s Covid-19 battle plan announcement and it seems likely that this evening a national lockdown will be announced. Covid-19 cases in SA now shot up to 402. No cases yet in Grahamstown but inevitably it is getting closer. The major concern is less affluent communities who seem unaware of the pending crisis. Refer photos taken today. 1 April (or perhaps earlier) is Social Grant payment day. Critical role for municipal, health, SASSA and officials from the major banks to ensure those ATM queues are Covid-19-Proof. Perhaps it’s a job for the military.

With deep respect to the health pandemic and the necessary measures implemented, this post focuses on the economic impact of the pandemic and the devastating impact it could have here in Grahamstown. The perspective is Grahamstown but this little city is a microcosm of South Africa (and beyond) so these thoughts are broadly applicable.

The backbone of Grahamstown’s economy is education and edu-tourism related to Rhodes University and the private schools. Social grants (the upside and downside) plays its part too. Students and scholars have been sent home. Dispersed like seeds across the world. Some returned as far as Kenya, Hong Kong and Austria. The local ice-cream parlour is missing them. On a broader scale, sports fixtures and festivals have been cancelled. The big one, the National Arts Festival in June, cancelled. Income projections for B&B’s, restaurants etc destroyed and ZERO certainty when a semblance of normality will return. The wildlife industry has similarly slashed their income projections. Trips to Grahamstown to stock up for the needs of guests no longer necessary. The ripple effect on the Grahamstown economy could be catastrophic.

It’s difficult to offer advice and hope in these times of unprecedented uncertainty. I sat (almost alone) at a local pub last Friday afternoon and imagined that a similar atmosphere must have quietly invaded such places at the start of WWII.

There was no “Monday in Makhanda” last week. Frankly, with the above in mind, I was in a state of shock and near-panic unable to order my thoughts and write anything constructive. The Grahamstown Project (a fledgling training / tourism business), like most businesses in Gtown, is in for severely challenging times. I spent last Monday / Tuesday in deep introspection. I lay awake in the dark hours with the sounds of restless, agitated dogs barking across the valley. On the positive side it allowed me the opportunity to re-examine priorities and relationships. Bunkering down playing back-gammon, scrabble etc is marvellous. I spoke with many people. People on the streets of Grahamstown and in the tall buildings of Johannesburg. How do I Covid-19-Proof my business? What is the worst-case scenario? How do I care for those dependent on me and whose loyalty etc I am dependent upon? My view. Support the vulnerable, big business can look after themselves. We live in a completely new world and the rules are different.

Slowly (if 2 days is slow in the context of an upside-down world) fragments of the necessary survival plan took shape and the Covid-19 Battle Plan for TGP is now being implemented. No one can tell when this gargantuan storm will pass but it will. It’s going to be tough but I’m up for the challenge! I’d like to repeat that we are all in the same boat. Perhaps little two-person kayaks spread across a ferocious ocean is a better analogy. One day we will be rid of this curse and the students, scholars and festivals will return. We need to be ready. Paddle hard friends and live with hope.

Best wishes and stay safe.
Graeme

 

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.

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March Photo Competition https://thegrahamstownproject.com/2020/03/13/march-photo-competition/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=march-photo-competition Fri, 13 Mar 2020 10:18:29 +0000 https://thegrahamstownproject.com/?p=13110
March Photo Competition

MARCH THEME: Donkeys of Grahamstown
FIRST PRIZE: R300 Pothole and Donkey voucher
TOP TEN: Will be displayed at Pothole & Donkey
SEND ENTRIES IN VIA OUR WEBSITE >>>> https://thegrahamstownproject.com/submit-your-photo/
T&Cs APPLY.

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.

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Monday in Grahamstown https://thegrahamstownproject.com/2020/03/09/monday-in-grahamstown-4/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=monday-in-grahamstown-4 Mon, 09 Mar 2020 16:46:53 +0000 https://thegrahamstownproject.com/?p=13072
Monday in Grahamstown

Good news stories abound in Grahamstown. It’s easy to lose sight of these when set against the backdrop of a failed Makana Council and consequent havoc wrecked on our community.

Important that the good news stories are elevated, illuminated and celebrated. Here are a few of many.

Helen Holleman and her ever expanding team started cleaning the Cobden Street “driffie” in early Jan. The effort is sustained and inclusive. People from East and West cleaning the Amatyana “driffie” that has for centuries
divided our community. The Amatyana flows into the Blaauwkrantz / Kowie and empties into the sea at Port Alfred.

There are those that argue this – and other civic actions – help the municipality do a job they are paid to do. I understand this argument but increasingly – and mercifully – people are stepping forward to fight for the environment and people neglected by politicians. Refer Helen Holleman for the full story. Well done Helen and friends and strength to your arms.

Thembelani Mentyisi. A remarkable young man. Given his humble background, a super-achiever on a scale that few others from our city can match. There are 1275 PG Autoglass technicians in SA. Thembelani is the champion of them all. He will represent PG at the international Belron competition in Spain in June.

On Friday he shared his story at his alma mater, Mary Waters High School. He matriculated in 2017. Since meeting Thembelani through Tim Dold at PG Glass Grahamstown he has expressed desire to share his story at Mary Waters. His story of hard work, gaining experience, grasping opportunities and living with hope was enthusiastically received by the learners and staff.

Thanks to Nosiphiwo Ndawonde (instrumental in setting it up) and Mrs Faith Coetzee (Head: MW) for the opportunity and honour afforded to Thembelani.

A highlight for Thembelani was catching up with his old rugby coach, Mr Joseph Specman, father of Rosko. Now there’s a properly famous product of Grahamstown and a great story. Mr Specman speaks proudly of Rosko and
acknowledges the role that Kingswood College played in Rosko’s development. Rosko, also a Mary Waters Old Boy, did a post-matric year at Kingswood.

Let’s finish off with another sporting hero born and raised in Grahamstown. Jon Jon Smuts, product of Graeme College. 84 runs and 2 wickets in Saturday’s 6-wicket victory against Australia. His is a story of a talent properly nurtured, hard work, and perseverance. And grasping opportunities! Congratulations Jon Jon and congratulations Helen, Tim, Thembelani and the Specman family. Outstanding role-models for our community.

Happy Monday to you all.
Graeme

Photo credits: The “Driffie” – Helen Holleman.
Kingswood College, South Africa
Mary Waters High School, Grahamstown
Graeme College

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.

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Grahamstown Ghost Tour – Thursday 12 March https://thegrahamstownproject.com/2020/03/03/grahamstown-ghost-tour-thursday-12-march/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=grahamstown-ghost-tour-thursday-12-march Tue, 03 Mar 2020 23:23:38 +0000 https://thegrahamstownproject.com/?p=13038
Grahamstown Ghost Tour – Thursday 12 March

Self Drive Ghost Tour with Brian Jackson

Thursday, 12 March 2020, 7pm

R150 per person

Bus transport can be provided for an additional R50 per person, on condition that we have a minimum of 10 people.

Meet at Grahamstown Tourism Office

As reviewed by Beckmanns Tours & Safaris > https://www.facebook.com/Beckmanns.co.za/posts/1306433086224170

To book, email: hello@thegrahamstownproject.com

 
 
 
 
 

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.

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Monday in Grahamstown https://thegrahamstownproject.com/2020/03/03/monday-in-grahamstown-3/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=monday-in-grahamstown-3 Tue, 03 Mar 2020 11:19:33 +0000 https://thegrahamstownproject.com/?p=13045
Monday in Grahamstown

A walk up on the old golf course (aka The Goat Track). 1820 Settlers National Monument in the background. Eucalyptus (aka blue gum, invasive species from Australia) in the middle-ground. Nguni Cattle in the foreground. Plans afoot to rename the Monument. The Monument to All Ancestors.

Sunday stroll on the beach at Kenton. Do NOT tell anyone about this gem. For me, ok I’m biased, a “Top-Ten” stretch of beach between Kariega and Bushmans. Jagged calciferous rock features. Bays, beaches, coves and gullies. Hundreds of millions of years of work. Giant dunes and nature reserve buffering humans from the ocean. Kenton Awesomeness

Skylit roof inside an historic building. Nothing to do with The Grahamstown Project Ghost Tour hosted by Brian Jackson but a free ticket for next Thursday’s Ghost Tour to the first person who correctly identifies the building.

Donkeys of Grahamstown 1. Mixed views on these beasts. Iconic Grahamstown. Little White Belly poses a question and provides answer. “If neither the silks of St George’s Chambers nor the Municipality are going to cut this grass then I’m just going to jolly well get on with the job myself.”

Donkeys of Grahamstown 2. White Face says to pal. “Do these humans think we enjoy eating plastic bottles? They should rather be making EcoBricks and building houses.” TGP photographic competition for March. Subject. Donkeys of Grahamstown. Submit entries to https://thegrahamstownproject.com/submit-your-photo/ .First prize, R300 Pothole and Donkey voucher. Best 10 will be displayed at Pothole & Donkey.

Community Works Programme (CWP) 1. 1200 people are paid a total of R1.2m per month to do “Useful” community work in Grahamstown. A poverty alleviation scheme. As Chair of the Circle of Unity LED Cluster I’m interested in the Municipality’s ability to harness this team to CLEAN Grahamstown and make it more attractive to investors, residents, students, visitors etc.

CWP2. Sunday morning sweeping High Street. Amen to that Sister. The LED Cluster Plan is multi-faceted and a model of Reciprocity. A social compact where the municipality perform their role (for which they are paid) and individuals, business, and civic society play an integrated / supportive role through self-regulation, compliance with by-laws etc and voluntary contributions of good deeds etc. The model requires increased levels of trust and impactful action from the Municipality.

Makana Revive (using R2 donations collected from Pick n Pay Grahamstown customers) repairing potholes in Allen Street. Nice one Andrew Kirk. Well done all. A meaningful contribution to making Grahamstown more attractive.

Cleaning Up Grahamstown. Illegal signage. Tatty signage. Test of the Social Compact / Reciprocity Model. Illegal signage MUST go. Hospital sign needs to be properly affixed to pole. Currently directing citizens to St George’s in PE rather than Settlers Hospital. Hats-off to whoever cut that grass. St Andrew’s College or Makana Municipality? Makana Tourism Makana Local Municipality Communication

Rhodes University 3rd Year journalism students interviewing Nombulelo Kewuti (wife of Sivuyile) proud EcoBrick home-owner. EcoBricks urgently required for EcoBrick Home 2. Pls deliver to Dr Trevor Davies Optometrist. Ask for Wayne.

That’s it folks. Yes, it is Tuesday. A little late for “Monday in Grahamstown” but sometimes the wheel turns a little slooowly here in GVegas.

Final piece of info. Big action in the Court at Bhisho today. Municipality’s Appeal of the Dissolution case being argued. Will Mayor Mpahlwa still have a job come Friday?

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.

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Monday in Grahamstown https://thegrahamstownproject.com/2020/02/24/monday-in-grahamstown/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=monday-in-grahamstown Mon, 24 Feb 2020 17:01:57 +0000 https://thegrahamstownproject.com/?p=12999
Monday in Grahamstown

The EcoBrick industry is taking shape in Grahamstown. Dr Trevor Davies, Paul Marriner, Robyn Cooper and I had another Wednesday strategy and planning session.

There was further excitement on Friday when Dr Davies and Suviyile’s EcoBrick home featured on SABC news. Well done to Paul and Suviyile on their TV debuts! 

We’ve been following and responding to the commentary on our two recent EcoBrick posts. There are many challenging issues and some deep philosophical questions to consider. Don’t forget this is a relatively new industry and there are all sorts of unknowns. Thanks to many for the advice on correct building techniques, reducing fire risks, and various legal issues.

A question we’ve considered is whether Grahamstown should import plastic waste (in the form of Ecobricks) from other centres. There’s a suggestion that only acceptable if the Ecobricks are accompanied by sponsorship funds to build a home. What’s your view?

It seems preferable for each littered community to use their EcoBricks in local home-build etc projects. Furthermore, Grahamstown has more than its fair share of plastic waste and a thriving Ecobrick industry with significant growth potential.

Have a look at The Folly Chapel. Yellowwood Forest. Morgan Bay for a wealth of information. Interesting titbit. Guatemala has built 297 schools using EcoBricks.

If you’d like to sponsor an EcoBrick house-build in Grahamstown – or know of someone that deserves one – please email paul@thegrahamstownproject.com

 
 
 
 

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.

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A Bakkie-load of Old Furniture https://thegrahamstownproject.com/2020/02/23/a-bakkie-load-of-old-furniture/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=a-bakkie-load-of-old-furniture Sun, 23 Feb 2020 12:31:49 +0000 https://thegrahamstownproject.com/?p=12984
A Bakkie-load of Old Furniture

Heartfelt thanks to Leonie Yendall and Rodney Yendall for their donation of a bakkie-load of old furniture for our Khanya Trade Skills Project.

Leonie contacted me following our appeal on 27 Jan. Scroll down the timeline to read that piece.

Our three woodworking trainees now have materials to practice their woodworking and carpentry skills. Also, great opportunity for them to make extra money as they work with Rowan and Claude to lovingly restore the furniture.

Sibusiso and i took a drive out to Leroy Nguni Stud & Radway Green B&B last Thursday morning to collect the load. The grasslands are beautiful and the cattle healthy after magnificent Jan / Feb rains.

A team of 7 – led by Leonie – loaded up before Leonie dashed off to the cattle auction in Grahamstown.

With the load securely fastened we drove back to the workshop to be greeted by a very appreciative team.

Thank you also to Mike And Rebecca Powell for lending us their “Red Bomber” bakkie for the morning.

Happy Sunday to all.
Graeme.

 
 
 

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.

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Monday in eNkanini – Eco-Bricks 2 https://thegrahamstownproject.com/2020/02/17/monday-in-enkanini-eco-bricks-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=monday-in-enkanini-eco-bricks-2 Mon, 17 Feb 2020 19:07:27 +0000 https://thegrahamstownproject.com/?p=12965
Monday in eNkanini – Eco-Bricks 2

An extraordinary week for the team. Last week’s post “Monday in Joza – Eco-Bricks” received a tremendous response and has fueled us with energy.

News of the Eco-Brick home that Dr Trevor Davies is building with his employee, Sivuyile Kewuti, featured in various online publications and the SABC visited eNkanini and interviewed Sivuyile and Paul Marriner. We understand it will be on the news this week.

The comments (222 of them) provided a range of input, critique, and support. Structural building guidance, environmental issues, aesthetic recommendations etc. Trevor is deeply appreciative of the input from those he has personally spoken to.

Also excellent suggestion from Julie Willis for children to earn tokens in exchange for Eco-Bricks. Tokens exchanged for school supplies, soap, toothpaste etc. Any Retailers interested in helping us on this one?

Thank you to those that shared and liked the post and for all the feedback received.

People from far and wide asked where Eco-Bricks can be delivered. Today I collected 200 from Mrs Hilary Viljoen in PE. Hilary (pictured) is the centre of a network making Eco-Bricks for many years and using them in various installations. They now have a surplus and graciously handed them over to The Grahamstown Project. Thank you Hilary!

Our mission is to build two more Eco-Brick houses and smaller installations such as park benches etc. We require 10,000 Eco-Bricks. Capital cost likely to be R100k. We are seeking partners and sponsors on these projects. Please email Paul@TheGrahamstownProject.com if you’d like to be involved in these environmentally friendly projects that provide homes of dignity for people.

Eco-Bricks (pls pack them tight with clean, dry plastic to mass of 600g) can be dropped off at Dr Trevor Davies Optometrist, 18 Bathurst Street, Grahamstown. We’re also working on a PE depot.

Thank you for the support. Let’s build Eco-Brick houses and clean up the environment!

Photo credits: Paul Marriner and Robyn Cooper.

 
 

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.

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Giant Yucca https://thegrahamstownproject.com/2020/02/14/giant-yucca/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=giant-yucca Fri, 14 Feb 2020 16:26:34 +0000 https://thegrahamstownproject.com/?p=12959
Giant Yucca

The Botanic Gardens have some quite magnificent exotic trees. Here’s one of the Giant Yuccas. When I worked at Rhodes I used to walk through Bots nearly every day. I’d enter through the ornamental gate on Grey Street, then down the steps through the fig trees, over the little bridge that the #Fees Must Fallists torched, and then up (past this Yucca) and along the avenue of oaks to exit beneath the huge Dragon Trees at the Lucas Avenue entrance. Unfortunately you can no longer get in from Grey Street and so this lovely through route is a thing of the past.
I took the photo early one morning when there was hot berg wind blowing. It’s shot with the wide angle M.Zuiko 7-14mm PRO lens – one of my favorite lenses.

RODDY FOX

Roddy is a self taught photographer whose first camera, a Zeiss Ikon, was bought in 1974 from a second hand dealer in Glasgow. Through the forty years since then, he's taken landscape photographs with Pentax, Olympus and FujiFilm systems for his teaching and research as a geography academic at Kenyatta and Rhodes Universities. He has always been inspired by great nature and landscape photographers such as Nick Brandt, Beth Moon, Obie Oberholzer and Hans Strand. Since taking early retirement he has been able to pursue his passion for photography, published a photobook ’Symmetry in Nature and held three solo exhibitions at the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa. 

His landscape photography is about light: often at low angles, of forests, mist and clouds, the night sky and lightning. He prints on different media depending on the affects he wants to produce: brushed aluminium for reflecting angled light; Hahnemühle German Etching paper for soft diffusion; Ilford Metallic Gloss for vibrant night pictures.

His conceptual photography uses mirroring and merging of layers to explore patterns, motifs and the feminine in nature. 

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Monday in Joza – Eco-Bricks https://thegrahamstownproject.com/2020/02/10/monday-in-joza-eco-bricks/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=monday-in-joza-eco-bricks Mon, 10 Feb 2020 16:33:10 +0000 https://thegrahamstownproject.com/?p=12943
Monday in Joza – Eco-Bricks

I’ve had a rather bizarre and extraordinary idea. Crazy perhaps, but that’s fitting. We live in a crazy place.

Dr Trevor Davies is building an Eco-Brick house in eNkanini, just other side Joza towards Makana Brick. Paul Marriner and I joined Trevor on a site-visit. We were hugely impressed.

Trevor is assisting an employee and his family to build a home of dignity. The structure is sturdy and well insulated. It’s built on a concrete slab. In addition to 5,000 Eco-Bricks (3 Tonnes of plastic waste) they’ve used cement, wooden windows / door and a proper timber roof structure covered with zinc sheeting. A rainwater tank is plumbed to a tap inside. Later the garden will be developed and vegetables grown. Trevor is already planning Eco-Brick house project number 2. If you’d like to visit, contact Paul Marriner or inbox me.

What excites me is that Trevor has lit a candle of demand for Eco-Bricks. We need to build more Eco-Brick houses. Loads of Eco-Bricks to build houses equates to a multi-tonnage removal of plastic waste.

Thanks to passionate educators in our community there are flourishing little Eco-Brick production lines within the schools. However, the missing parts have been a) lack of Eco-Brick building projects to drive Eco-Brick demand, and b) monetary value for an Eco-Brick to incentivise people to produce Eco-Bricks.

The raw materials are scattered everywhere but without demand for Eco-Bricks there can be no scale to the industry. And that’s what we need. The crazy idea. A massive Eco-Brick industry in Grahamstown. Clean the place one Eco-Brick at a time and build homes for people. For goodness sakes, we could build Eco-Brick estates.

There are other pieces to this Eco-Brick Industry puzzle and it will take time (and small capital) to get it cracking. For starters, though, more Eco-Brick education and enthusiasm required. Training and demonstrations. An opportunity exists to become the best community on earth at converting plastic waste into Eco-Bricks and then building homes of dignity. We could even host the Grahamstown Eco-Brick Festival and / or Eco-Brick World Championships!

I’m sure there are many great ideas and people who can bring their knowledge and expertise to bear in chasing this opportunity. Please comment and contact us to engage in conversation. Trevor, Paul and I will share further developments and ideas as they arise.

 
 

That’s it for now. Be happy and be positive wherever you are. Please keep up your support for Grahamstown. Here’s to the potential of the Eco-Brick Industry in Grahamstown!

Graeme

PS – Half the Eco-Bricks for the eNkanini project were made and graciously donated by local schools. The balance were purchased from less affluent members of the community who were paid R2.50 per Eco-brick. A standard Eco-Brick is a 2l bottle stuffed with 600g clean and dry plastic waste. It’s a Makana Eco-Brick. Strong and reliable.

PPS – Eco-Brick is but one stratagem to clean Grahamstown. It fits into the broader “Clean Grahamstown Project” which is part of the LED Cluster Circle of Unity Programme

 
 

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.

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