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‘You know you’re in Grahamstown when…’

Published on 2 July 2015

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][FESTIVAL NEWS] The National Arts Festival recently ran a competition which asked entrants to complete the sentence, ‘You know you’re in Grahamstown when…’ We had a fantastic response, with more than 400 entries in less than two days.

Port Elizabeth resident Taryn Isaacs De Vega was the winner, receiving a prize that included two nights’ accommodation at a four-star guest house, R2000 in cash towards travel costs and other expenses, as well as tickets to six shows – including Pieter-Dirk Uys’s Apart Hate Apart Love and Dylan Moran’s Off The Hook.

In her enthusiastic response, Isaacs said: ‘As a lover of the arts, I believe the Festival is imperative for the growth of the Eastern Cape arts scene. Thank you to the organisers for this amazing Festival and for the chance to attend.” Congratulations Taryn. And we hope you have a great weekend.

Among the 410-odd entries were some so clever, thoughtful and spot-on that we thought we’d republish a selection here:

You know you’re in Grahamstown when…

… you brave the chilly morning with frozen breath and fingers and find yourself enchanted by a glorious soundtrack of accents and artists, buskers and baskets, colours and crowds – the ABC that ends with Zealous Supporters! – Sen

… you’re standing next to the oldest letterbox in South Africa, about to send a Tweet that you are there attending the National Arts Festival. – Jabulile

… trying to work out your show-viewing schedule is harder than a Sodoku puzzle!!! – Giselle Lowe

… a complete stranger gives you a free ticket to their play. Where have you ever experienced that? – Simon

… when the learners you’ve taken on tour to the Festival are excited about something for the first time all year. – Chelsea

… you wake up excited and go to bed exhausted. – Cyndy Purchase

… you see donkey carts at petrol stations, and even in the CBD. – Khayalethu Gongqa

… you think you’re an extra in The Actors and cite “What is the What” to strangers. – Erica

… you hear the friendly voices of the newspaper sales ladies/ gentlemen shouting “Cue, get your Cue” – Rebecca Berrington

… you feel the winter nights sings mystical verses whilst the monuments tell of tales so true to our past, present and future. – Aviwe Dyani

… the welcome is warm, the shows are hot and the jazz is cool. – Carol Walsh

… the urge to pee is secondary to the urge to see
and by midday you’re already on show number three,
when you find yourself double-coated
…and a little art bloated,
when hippy-chic gets you amorous looks
and you get to see a show with the star of BLACK BOOKS! – Deborah

… you are willing to give up ALL your sleep to experience as many world-class performances and meet tons of interesting, vibrant new people. As this will be the highlight of your whole holiday, wait… year. – Mbali

… the directions say “turn left at the church”… and there’s a church on every corner. – Jess

… you can’t help but speak in the Xhosa-English lingo because Mzansi is just so unique like that! Uyayaz’ mos la’way! :D – Braven Nhlapo

… you feel so much love you think everybody knows you but you are not sure where you know them from. – Loyiso Gwanya

… you look across the valley and see the beautiful spires of the grand churches. – Kate O’Dowd

… you run out of money and perform as a human statue to buy tickets. – Jesse

… you can’t find a McDonald’s. – Bubu

… it’s acceptable to go to Pick n Pay in pyjamas! – Radha Sewcharan

… She gives you a sweet welcome kiss,
Boasting all of her architectural gems and cultural wonders to you.
She’s mysterious, you know she has a secret.
Settler cottages, Victorian villas, museums and countless monuments
That preserve her historical richness.
She’s untouched by modern developments,
So well kept, you can almost hear her founder Colonel John Graham,
Giving his troops the mighty orders.
She doesn’t hide those who have suffered at the hands of harsh racial policies,
She displays them on her hillsides as a reminder to all.
The past is ever so present here
But the future is being birthed by those who inhabit her now.
Beings of all sorts, brown and white express themselves.
Long, uncombed hair and free flowing garments.
Singers, actors, dancers, writers all alike,
They come here to establish their craft and she’s welcomed them too.
She’s a bubbling pot of culture and she cannot be contained.
Her beauty ever so oozes.
She may be small and in a place where many rarely see her beauty,
But she remains never forgotten by those who have seen her in their lifetime.
Because the grass truly is greener here than it is anywhere else. – Lee Mavuso

… you find yourself in a bar at 2 in the morning having a conversation about literature with a stranger… – Katherine

…your sulky teenage daughter is happily walking around with an art journal and a smile. – Fadia

… you’ve gaffawed and then shed tears and the cackled and then bawled all day and you sit down to dinner at the Long Table and realise you are surrounded by the very people who have been entertaining you. – Brigette

… when the directions day “turn left at the church”… and there’s a church on every corner.. – Jess

… You’ve walked the village green flat,
and haggled with a trader for a winter hat.
You’ve brushed shoulders at the long table,
And seen Rob’s blind mice fable.
You discovered there’s more to life than Black Books
and felt your world changed by one of Tannie Evita’s looks.
At the Rat and Parrot you’ve taken in a soccer game
and with strangers debated the meaing of art and fame.
There’s been jazz in the hall; and you’ve tried to do it all
But most of all you’ve had a ball! – Mary

… you walk out the steep hill to PJ Olivier for a show and SURVIVE!! – Marli Huyser

And we’ll leave the last word to Janine Hoffmann:

… all “Rhodes” lead to AMAZING. THE DOG DAYS ARE OVER when you SPRING AND FALL near SIVA(SEVEN) Fountains. You’ll have every MAN LONGING to be there. JAZZ JAM will fill the air and be spread to every corner of the toasty town. THE ECHO OF A NOISE rings out in THE IMAGINED LAND. The wintery chill surrounds you so make sure you are NEVER TOO NAKED. Scurrying from show to show and stall to stall like THREE BLIND MICE who are MISSING. If you don’t experience it you are in your own HORROR STORY. Once THE MATCH GIRL strikes and things start to heat up it’ll end in ASHES TO ASHES. It’s like PANDORA’S BOX, so I will see you at SUNRISE to live A FULLER LIFE and experience THE GREAT BEAUTY, THINK FEST.