• Towards becoming South Africa's Creative Capital



    The Creative City concept is a bold idea, embracing a range of initiatives and projects which, collectively, help make Grahamstown one of the most creative cities in the country. It pulls together a major alliance of institutions in Grahamstown - Festivals, tourism bodies, arts NGOs, educational and government entities - and harnesses their collective passion for creativity for the benefit of the City.

    Makana Arts Academy

    Mission: Driving growth and promoting dignity through the arts

    National Arts Festival with support from the European Union


    Our flagship project - the Makana Arts Academy is an umbrella initiative aimed at upskilling and resourcing the creative residents of Grahamstown so that they are positioned to turn their talent, skills and passion into a sustainable career. The Academy supports existing projects and initiates projects of its own, focused on different aspects of the creative sector. At present that includes choral music, photography, theatre, and visual art and craft.


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    Festival Gallery

    Mission: A platform and outlet for visual artists from Grahamstown and surrounding areas.


    The Festival Gallery is a fully functional art gallery in the heart of Grahamstown - at 38 Somerset Street. It is a showcase for some of the amazing talent we have in the City and in the province around us - an opportunity for the City's many visitors to leave not just with great memories of an amazing City, but with a piece of art that they will cherish forever.


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    Foto Fence

    Mission: Turn a hobby into a career

    National Arts Festival with support from the European Union

    Project leader: Brent Meistre


    The Foto Fence project is the brainchild of Rhodes University
    lecturer and photographer Brent Meistre. Through it some of
    Grahamstown's emerging photograhic talent was discovered. As a result, a handful of aspiring professional photographers are now being led through an  intensive training programme as part of the EU-funded Makana Arts  Academy.


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    Mission: Gather Grahamstown's freshest voices on one stage

    National Arts Festival with support from the European Union

    Project leader: Gareth Walwyn and Priscilla Glover


    The fourth annual Masicule concert will be held in March 2017 - featuring a dozen choirs and culminating in over 800 voices from Grahamstown on one stage performing together. The project brings to life a core component of the Makana Arts Academy - the opportunity for Grahamstown residents to showcase their natural talents, and to grow them into viable careers.


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    Uyabona Ke

    Mission: Economic and social upliftment through theatre

    National Arts Festival with support from the European Union

    Project leader: Rob Murray

    Uyabona Ke are a Grahamstown-based company who create amazing mask-based physical theatre work. They have achieved major success at both the National Arts Festival and Cape Town Fringe and hope to take their work even further afield....

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    Visual Art at Ntsika

    Mission: Give learners at Ntsika Secondary School the opportunity to take Visual Art as a subject.

    National Arts Festival with support from the European Union and Carinus Art Centre



    Learners at Ntsika Secondary School in Grahamstown haven't, until now, had the option of taking Art as a matric subject. With the support of the Creative City project, teaching resources have been sourced through the Carinus Art Centre to start a group of Grade 10s on the three year journey to matric art and, from there, hopefully a stellar career.


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    Fingo Festival

    Mission: Be part of greatness!

    Fingo Festival Team, National Arts Festival with support from the European Union, Makana Municipality, and the Eastern Cape Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture



    The Fingo Festival is a festival devoted to art as a platform to promote social cohesion and social transformation within Fingo Township and Grahamstown. They host workshops, dialogues and activities for children and young people. The project has as its vision "An interconnected community brought together by visual art, drama, music and edutainment. A transformed community in which skilled and creative individuals can participate in community development and contribute to the growth of South Africa's economy."


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    The Gruffalo

    Mission: Create opportunities to perform for local artists

    Facilitated by National Arts Festival


    The Gruffalo: Live on stage is the West-end smash production, now with an all-Grahamstown cast as part of the Creative City project. It premiered in Cape Town in September 2016 as preparation for a national tour, playing to packed houses and selling out 6 of its 11 performances.
    Directed by Tara Notcutt, the South African version ofThe Gruffalo: Live on Stage! features all the characters, songs and storyline from the smash hit West End production, with a uniquely local feel. The ensemble cast includes Nombasa Ngoqo, Sisonke Yafele, Ayanda Nondlwana and Mandisi Heshu.
    Experienced performers and dancers, the cast have emerged from the European Union-funded Makana Arts Academy in Grahamstown and already have an impressive list of production credits under their belts - including the award-winning productions Waterline (Standard Bank Ovation Award) and Falling off the Horn.
    The picture book The Gruffalo, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, is a worldwide phenomenon, having sold over 13 million copies in 58 editions worldwide. It has been translated into dozens of languages, including Portuguese, Dutch, Italian, Russian, Turkish and Afrikaans. An isiXhosa version of the book, and the musical, are in the pipeline as part of the Festival project.



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    The Gatherings / Intlangano

    Mission: Stimulate dialogue through the arts

    Facilitated by Nomcebisi Moyikwa


    The Gathering/Intlangano uses processes of dance and choreography, applied theatre, and narrative therapy to produce a series of performative encounters called ‘Gatherings’. These encounters will occur at various times and at selected socio-political artistic platforms throughout Grahamstown during 2015.and aim to:

    • Stimulate dialogue between youth from Grahamstown east and west. With its focus on human subjectivity, experience and creativity, it starts with people living their daily lives, it investigates their talk, their feelings, their actions and their bodies as they engage in a social world and experience and share the constraints of history and material world of inequalities and exclusions that mark their world.
    • Foster partnerships between students at Rhodes University and students in the Grahamstown community in the hope of developing creative exchange.
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    Theatre Skills - Vuka Workshops and Makana Drama Development Festival

    Mission: Stimulate, inspire, achieve excellence in theatre

    Facilitated by Janet Buckland and team




    This programme aims to facilitate a stimulating Theatre Skills and Performance Platform for local Grahamstown community artists. This programme will consist of inspiring skills-building workshops (Vuka Workshops) which will run throughout the year and will finally culminate in the ever-popular performance platform - the “Makana Drama Development Festival”. This annual community festival will be hosted in the Rhodes University Theatre by the RU Drama Department. Thus, through the training interventions provided by the Vuka workshops and through the element of competition provided by the festival, the community groups will be in an excellent position to raise the standard of their productions and to provide the audiences with great entertainment. Not only will the entire programme build the capacity of local disadvantaged artists but the programme will also provide a unique opportunity – winners of the Makana Drama Development Festival go on to perform as part of the National Arts Festival Fringe!



    Our partners in the Creative City project have helped us conceptualise,  launch and grow this amazing idea.

    European Union
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