Citizen Voices

Out and about in Grahamstown

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Grahamstown. Photo: Roos Bergsma

In my last article for Embizweni, I wrote about my first impressions of Grahamstown. Since then I explored the city a bit more. Some places attracted me like a magnet, such as the Library for the Blind, the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint George to name a few. I also came across a lot of cultural differences between my city back home, Utrecht (The Netherlands) , and G’town.

One of my favourite places to have a little run or to walk or just to chill out is the Botanical Garden. The first time I went there was for a Valentine’s Day picnic during O’Week.

I was really surprised by the trees. My favourite tree looks like the picture below. Also, the birds attracted my interest, I can listen for hours to their beautiful songs. I spotted some Yellow Eyed Canaries. I’ve only seen these birds in cages before because in the Netherlands its common for people to keep these birds as pets.

In my humble opinion, a really interesting tree. Photo: Roos Bergsma

In my humble opinion, a really interesting tree. Photo: Roos Bergsma

Along with listening to the songs of the birds, I really love to see exhibits so that’s why I went to see the crafts at the lovely Egazini Outreach Project in Joza. The artist showed us a wide range of local crafts and also how they make their prints. She showed us how to make a beautiful black and white print of a girl standing by a tree: an unremarkable piece of white paper changed into a really beautiful work of art in about 15 minutes. I was really impressed by the creativity of the local artists.

When walking through Grahamstown, it’s impossible to miss the Cathedral of St Michael and St George on High Street. I really love the way in which the Cathedral is the centre of the shopping district . This emphasizes the grace of the church. When I first entered the big, wooden door, I was overwhelmed by the smell of old Bibles the beauty of the  stained glass.

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The Cathedral of St Michael and St George in the heart of Grahamstown. Photo: Roos Bergsma

On the way back to campus, I passed the Library for the Blind. It looked really interesting to me so I decided to have a look there. The same afternoon, I was allowed to interview the director of the library and received a tour through the whole building. Now I know a lot more about braille and how to make audio books. Do you want to know more about this? Click here to read about my tour in the library.

Before I returned back to campus, I posted a letter to my mother in South Africa’s oldest post box on the corner of Worcester and Somerset Streets. How special is that?

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The oldest post-box of South Africa. Photo: Megan Whittington

Apart from Grahamstown itself, I visited some other places in the surrounding area. With the Sailing and Kite Surfing Club from Rhodes, I went to the local Settlers’ Dam recreation site. There was not enough wind to kite surf so I only went sailing and swimming. In the Netherlands there isn’t a single mountain. The whole country is completely flat. That’s why I couldn’t get my eyes off these stunning forested mountains. I wish I could take them home.

I think that’s also one of the reasons why I love to watch the sunset and sunrise up at the Monument, near my Res. When I look at the view from there, it’s like I’m looking at an animated poster.

Another place where I watched the sunrise is Woody Cape, this magical place is near Kenton on Sea and I’m sure this is the most gorgeous beach I’ve ever seen. When I turned my back to the sea, it was like I saw a big dry desert. And when I looked to the sea, the sound and the looks of the waves made me feel like I was dreaming. Back home, humans totally developed the beaches. They have built many restaurants and shops to attract tourists. They even constructed the dikes. Without dikes, Holland would be flooded because the country is situated lower then the sea level. At Woody Cape, nothing seems to be touched by any singe person.

In my next articles, I will be writing about other places that have captured my imagination in this versatile city.

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