Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I visited Grahamstown, the City of Saints, around 1987, and did several sketches, including a couple from the hill overlooking the historic Settler town where Prof Guy Butler organised the building of the 1820 Settlers Monument, home to the National Arts Festival.

Rhodes University dominates the western side of the town, and this view of its famous clock tower I did through the trees from somewhere within the campus. Of course, the place holds much significance for me today, with my eldest son having started studying for a BSc this year.

Grahamstown's magnificent Cathedral of St Michael and St George (started in 1924 and only completed in 1952). This seems to be a view from the Settlers Monument or high up on Gunfire Hill. Wikipedia has a lovely tale, which probably is the reason Grahamstown is known as the city of saints. "It is said that in about 1846 there were Royal Engineers stationed in Grahamstown who were in need of building tools. They sent a message to Cape Town requesting a vice be forwarded to them from the Ordnance Stores. A reply came back, 'Buy vice locally'. The response was, 'No vice in Grahamstown'.

A view of the cathedral from the east.Visible on the right is the clock tower of the City Hall and, closer to the observer, I think, a side-on view of the 1850 Commemoration Methodist Church.

The following drawings, done apparently in an Anglican church, were probably not from that Grahamstown visit, but since the place is renowned for its churches I thought it fitting to include them here.

Having an intelligent woman in my wife, Robyn, adds a new dimension. I enjoy many of her witty observations, including her description of the "bells and smells" of the more traditional churches. I'm sure the Anglicans have a name for the torch and incense bearers - and Robyn would know it too, despite being a Methodist. Another of her clever quips, which a newspaper man would have to enjoy, is her description of the birth, marriage and death/funeral notices in the classified ads - hatches, matches and dispatches.

I suspect this character was caught in mid-song.

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