Talk of the Town
Makhanda festival city with SID PENNEY
The city is renowned for its educational institutions, for being the national seat of the judiciary and for its cultural events
GENERATORS GOING GREAT GUNS
The deep-throated drone of generator motors could be heard once again across Makhanda (Grahamstown) as loadshedding returned last week.
For future reference, local security company Hi-Tec provides daily loadshedding schedules on its Facebook page and on WhatsApp.
There has been considerable uncertainty and confusion among South Africans of late regarding the opening date for public schools in 2021, but reports at the weekend indicated that schools will, in all probability, reopen on February 15.
Principals and staff have been eagerly awaiting confirmation from higher authority so that they may inform parents, and prepare.
Meanwhile, three Makhanda private schools – Diocesan School for Girls (DSG), St Andrew’s College and St Andrew’s Prep welcomed their pupils back for the 2021 school year last week.
However, at the time of writing it was unsure whether private schools would also be subject to the February 15 opening or not.
SUCCESSES AT ’A’ LEVEL
The first group of 16 Diocesan School for Girls (DSG) and St Andrew’s College pupils wrote their final Cambridge International A Level examinations in October and November last year, which provides pupils with access to the top universities throughout the world.
Among those who achieved exceptional results was Brady Henaghan of Makhanda, who recorded two A-plus (90% and more) and one A (80% to 90%) symbols.
Meanwhile, Michael Velloza, from Knysna, has been accepted to study a degree in politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University this year.
LEADERS AT KINGSWOOD
Kingswood College’s pupil leaders for 2021 are: Wanda Lwazi Madasa (headgirl), from East London, who joined the Kingswood family at the start of her Grade 2 year. She plays hockey and is a member of the Interact and Toastmasters clubs.
Usivile Sibulele Zweni from King Williams Town (headboy) joined Kingswood at the start of Grade 8. He plays cricket, rugby and hockey, and is a high-jumper.
Azola Poswa (deputy headgirl) joined Kingswood in Grade 9, and is a member of the Interact club.
Darius Govender (deputy headboy) enrolled at Kingswood in pre-primary. He plays cricket and also takes part in the Kingswood/Mary Waters High School maths programme where he has been able to help develop the mathematical skills of younger pupils.
FORMER SOCCER PLAYER DIES
Former local resident and soccer player who turned out for Saints FC and Grahamstown City, Ben Marshall, died at Bathurst last week, and comments and messages of condolence on social media confirm what a good friend he was to many, and what a solid defender he was on the soccer pitch.
The former Graeme College pupil was involved in the local motor trade for many years, and moved to Bathurst with his wife Edna several years ago.
A social media post summed him up by saying, “Ben was one of the finest, down-to-earth men ever.”
Former teammate Trevor Wiblin, now resident in Port Elizabeth, wrote, “Ben and I were friends and the centre-back partnership for Grahamstown City for many years in our soccerplaying days. I have good memories of his quiet strength as a player.”
Another former teammate, Bennie Nel, now living in Durban, wrote on Facebook: “I had the privilege of playing soccer alongside Ben, for Saints and Grahamstown City.
“I remember, with pride, us winning the Dewar Shield. He was a real, solid defender.”
Ben’s brother George, who lives in Plettenberg Bay, is a former soccer goalkeeper, while his sister Lynne lives in Makhanda.
DAMS AND FORTS
As far as I am aware, the list of Makhanda street names, a copy of which is in my possession, was compiled in the 1960s by Beatrice Enid Rennie, mayor of Grahamstown from 1967 to 1969.
Rennie Avenue in Sunnyside is named after her. The list contains not only street names and details, but also those of squares, pedestrian lanes, dams and fields.
The first in this new series in this column is Hamilton Dam, situated on the western side of Gunfire Hill, below the 1820 Settlers National Monument. It is named after Rob Burns Hamilton, a saddler in nearby Grey Street, and a councillor in 1895.
Fort Selwyn is situated on Gunfire Hill and its neighbour is the Monument. It is named after Maj Selwyn of the Royal Engineers who built it.
OF THE OLDER VARIETY
Port Alfred resident Andrew Reed is a former coeditor of motoring magazine Classic Car Africa, and last year he kindly gave me a few back issues.
The 2003 summer edition of the magazine was of particular interest to me, what with the rallying exploits of local couple Neville and Susan Koch being mentioned. They are the owners of Wesson’s Motors in Makhanda, and have been involved in vintage and veteran motoring rallies for many years.
In September 2003, according to the first article, they took part in the three-day SAVVA National Tour in the Vanderbijlpark district.
The tour attracted 52 entries from across the country, the oldest vehicle being a 1909 Renault and the youngest vehicle the Kochs’ 1975 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce.
The winning vehicle was a 1970 Mercedes Benz 280SE, and the Kochs finished seventh.
The same edition of Classic Car Africa reported on the 2003 Continental Milligan Vintage Trial in the Graaff-Reinet and Cradock districts, and Neville and Susan Koch finished fifth in their 1960 Rover. Three months later they emerged as overall winners of the 2003 ‘Border Old Car Run’, organised by the Border Vintage Car Club in their 1975 Alfa Spider.
POWERS AT SQUASH
Diocesan School for Girls (DSG) pupil Erin Powers, of Makhanda was invited to and y took part in the SA Under 19 high performance squash camp that included talks by world-renowned experts on skills work drills, conditioning, hydro recovery, match analysis and nutrition.
Over the December holidays, St Andrew’s College pupil Matthew Grunewald was reawarded his SA Colours and was included in the SA open men’s rock climbing team at the African Continent championships in Cape Town.
Only 14 athletes progressed to the semifinals, and Grunewald finished 8th for speed, 8th for bouldering and 7th for lead.
In the finals he ended in 8th place on the African Continent, despite being the youngest competitor.
ON THE WATER
Luke Barker and Scott Moorcroft have been appointed captain and vice-captain respectively of the St Andrew’s College rowing club.
NEW ON THE STAFF
Among the new staff members at St Andrew’s College this year are four interns – Teboho Matlabe, Sive Mdidimba, Uhuru Vanda and Phiwo Yase.
Other newcomers to the staff complement are Marika du Toit (English teacher), John Jackson (Latin teacher), Nomkhitha Minya (geography teacher), Sanele Ndaba (history teacher), Lukhanyo Tshongweni (mathematics literature teacher), Chanelle Staude (visual arts teacher) and Nosi Pinyana (payroll administrator).
THE LONG ROAD
Relative newcomers to Makhanda may not have heard of the Barclays Bank Settlers Marathon between the city and Port Alfred, which was an annual highlight on the calendars of longdistance road runners back in the 1980s and 1990s.
With the financial institution’s subsequent name change, the race that attracted entries from all over the country became known as the First National Bank Settlers Marathon.
During a recent spring-cleaning exercise – a ‘marathon’ job, incidentally – I came across the race brochure for the 10th running of the event in 1989.
The publication mentions the names of numerous locals involved in the organisation and participation in the event at the time.
Among them were: John Donald (race director – he was head of sport at Rhodes University back then); Marlene Thompson (treasurer); Chris Whiteley (in charge of officials); Pete Andrew (in charge of entries); Dr Kevin Gough (medical officer); and Doug Coghlan (announcer).
Permanent Settlers Marathon numbers were awarded to runners completing their fifth Settlers.
Local residents at the time who achieved permanent number status in the 1980s included George Marshall (Albany Road Runners), and Chris Whiteley, Wilfred Appollis and Dave Edwards (all three Drostdy Harriers).
Recently deceased Bruce Smith, head of sport at Rhodes at the time, headed the organising committee for the first two Settlers, and thereafter John Donald.