Grahamstown has a rich history spanning over 200 years. Originally, Grahamstown was a small military outpost established by Lieutenant-Colonel John Graham in 1812 as part of the on-going effort to secure and stabilise the eastern frontier of the British Empire in, what was then known as, the Cape Colony.This effort saw a great deal of conflicts arise between the British and the Xhosas, who had land further east.
The height of the frontier conflicts occurred on the 22nd of April 1819 where Xhosa warriors numbering in the thousands lead by the charismatic Nxele (Makana) launched a full scale attack on the Colonial forces. The rampant Xhosa force’s confidence was spurred by their overwhelming numbers, outnumbering the colonial forces by 28 to 1. Despite the Xhosa’s significant numerical advantage, it was the firepower of the British that was to be the order of the day. The battle lasted mere hours and ended in the surrender of Nxele and his subsequent imprisonment on Robben Island.
From the battlefield, several anecdotal tales have emerged, the most famous of them being the story of Elizabeth Salt. According to folklore, Elizabeth Salt, wife to one of the Colonial Soldiers, disguised much needed weapons and gunpowder as an infant she was cradling. She carried them into battle and delivered them to the troops in the garrison. It was the Xhosa’s honourable reluctance to harm women that allowed Elizabeth to deliver the ammunition that allowed the Colonial troops to fend off the Xhosa’s vast forces.
A year after the brutal battle of Grahamstown, the 1820 settlers landed in Algoa Bay (Port Elizabeth). The Settlers were sent from their home country, in a double billed effort to ease rising unemployment in Britain after the Napoleonic wars and to consolidate the presence of the British Empire in the somewhat turbulent region of, what is now known as, the Eastern Cape. The influx of the settlers and businessmen looking for new frontier opportunities, helped Grahamstown become a bustling centre of trade.
Grahamstown is ideal for visitors wanting a wide variety of attractions, historical and educational including Rhodes University, Kingswood College, St Andrews College and The Diocesan School for Girls.Other well-known schools in Grahamstown include Graeme College, Victoria Girls’ High School, and P.J. Olivier Hoerskool.Grahamstown is also host to a campus of the East Cape Midlands College.
Grahamstown is also known as the “City of Saints”. Many believe that this is due to the fact that there are a lot of churches in Grahamstown. However, locals believe that the origin of this name dates back to garrison days when a requisition for a vital piece of carpentry equipment met with the courteous reply: “We regret we have no vice in Grahamstown”. Back bounced the obvious rejoinder: “Then you must all be saints”.The Anglican Cathedral of St Michael and St George is a diocesan seat of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. Grahamstown also has Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Ethiopian Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist, Pinkster Protestant, Dutch Reformed (Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk), Charismatic, Apostolic and Pentecostal churches.
There are also meeting places for Hindus, Scientologists, Quakers, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Muslims. In fact it is said that there is a church in Grahamstown for every week of the year.
A water tank with pump is available if there are problems with the municipal water. It will automatically switch over when municipal water is cut, therefore you can continue with normal use of water in case of general water outage. Please use water sparingly.
Please note that load shedding is intermittent. There is a schedule on the counter in the bedroom, together with a rechargeable LED light, candles and lighter. Please make use of this, when there is load shedding.
The reverse is true in Summer, when the heat can be stifling at times. A floor fan is provided.