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Grahamstown

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A DIVERSITY OF NAMES

Grahamstown is known by a diversity of names. It was named Grahamstown after its founder, Lieutenant-Colonel John Graham, first commanding officer of the Cape Regiment, which had its headquarters here from 1811. Established by British Settlers who came to South Africa in the early 1800s, particularly 1820, Grahamstown is sometimes known as Settler City.
  The plethora of churches in the city gives rise to “City of Saints”. A wittier claim is that it comes from a message reportedly sent during one of the early frontier wars. In reply to a requisition for a steel vice from HQ, the quartermaster wrote “We regret we have no vice in Grahamstown.”
  The Xhosa name is Rini or Rhini. Its origins are uncertain but it is likely to be that of a Xhosa chief who lived in the area in pre-colonial times.
  To most South Africans Grahamstown is Festival City. For ten days every July, the largest Arts Festival in Africa transforms the usually placidity of the place into a whirl of creative revelry. In addition to this, the Sasol Science festival, National Schools Festival, and Makana Freedom Festival are all annual events. The numerous conferences held here render Grahamstown a main centre for South African education and culture.
  Tourism market this area as Frontier Country and centrally situated Grahamstown is also known as the Heart of the Frontier Country. The Frontier Country region includes Alicedale, Sidbury, Salem, Seven Fountains, Riebeeck East, Bedford, Fort Beaufort, Adelaide, Alice, Hogsback, and Peddie.
  With its small-town Victorian charm, set in the beautiful unspoiled countryside of the Eastern Cape, its University, schools and festivals, Grahamstown does indeed have a great deal to offer. Many of its residents simply call it “Good Old Grahamstown.”


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