Friday, 16 July 2010

Grahamstown: National Schools Festival (Part 3)

On 7 July, we had free time to roam Grahamstown, nicknamed the "City of Saints" because of its many places of worship.

First, my friend and I arrived at the Albany Museum, a natural science museum housing many fossils, sea shells and stuffed mammals.


The museum also had an Egyptian mummy:


Next, I visited the Rhodes' student art exhibition where exquisitely creative works were on display. Other than the usual paintings, there were some interesting "things". Here is a face sculptured out of baked bread (Taryn King, 2nd year BFA)...


...and yes, this dog (Francois Knoetze, 2nd year BFA) is made from chewing gun and found objects!



I also went to an exhibition call "The Binding" by Christine Dixie. The hardships of children soldiers was movingly recreated by means of toy soldiers:




Next came escapade through the many buildings in Grahamstown with my daring friend, Cuan. First, we arrived at Grahamstown's landmark: The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George.


There was a building with an impressive clock tower next to the cathedral and so we decided to go "check it out". It turned out to be the City Hall! After some unexaggerated flattery about Grahamstown's charm and splendour, we were granted permission to scale the many narrow and pigeon-poop covered stairways into the clock tower.


Here is a view from the top...


...and here is my friend capturing the scenery through a broken clock-pane (is that the right word?)


After popping in some of the shops lining the Grahamstown streets, we arrived at the Methodist Church. Unfortunately, this was the only photo I could get of the exterior:


However, here is a photo of one of the magnificent stained-windows:


The Observatory Museum was our next stop. In 1859, Henry Carter Galpin bought a simple double-storey establishment in Bathurst Street for £300. During the next 23 years, he made extensive changes. The front was elegantly decorated, and a basement and three floors added to the back. Rooftop developments included an observatory, from which the building took its name, and what was for many years the only Camera Obscura in the Southern Hemisphere.


Next on the list was St Patrick's Catholic Church. Unfortunately, after knocking for five minutes, the doors just would not budge.


We even went into the library (because I insisted)!


By this time, four hours had passed since we set off on this adventure. Our legs were exhausted and so we decided to sit down on the sidewalk to jot down the day's events.


On the way back to our residence, we dropped by the High Court. I was so worried that we would be arrested for tresspassing!

Next to the High Court is the South African Library for the Blind. Since Cuan and I had literally invaded every attraction in Grahamstown, we decided to have a look inside.


A woman who works there gave us an unexpected tour of the Library. I was so moved by what they do for the blind that I forgot to take photos. The Library has two Norway-imported braille-printing machines costing half a million each and they print bestsellers for the blind. A 300 page Stephen King novel translates to 10 thick braille books! There are also numerous volunteers who read books which are recorded and made into audio books. Thus ended an extraordinary and unforgettable tramp through Grahamstown.


5 comments:

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Sreddy: What a neat place to visit. You captured the essence of the museum and the town so wonderfully.

Max-e said...

Hi Sreddy, I have enjoyed your tour of Grahamstown. Unfortunately, I always seem to visit there on a Sunday when all the places of interest are closed. I found the art interesting as well. Still trying to understand some of the more contemporary art - who knows I may get there yet. My first real experience of it was when the Spier Contempory winners were exhibited in Port Elizabeth.

Guillaume said...

Wow! Some stunning pictures there.

Shaista (Lupus in Flight) said...

I am glad you visited the braille section - it is quite something to see the size and volumes of a slim bestseller isn't it? The day looked jam packed but brilliant too...

jeannette said...

Thank you for taking on tour with us! Many great places to take pics. I favor the face sculpted out of baked bread - and the dog -ingenious!