Seeing things clearly


On Sunday 9 September, Grocott’s Mail had the extraordinary privilege of sharing the excitement and enthusiasm of 35 Grahamstown (Makhanda) school children as they discovered new ways of seeing their surroundings.

We were privileged, too, to work alongside mentors from WESSA, Rhodes Journalism,  Zoology and Entomology, the South African National Institute of Biodiversity, and the children’s own amazing teachers. Everyone braved a cold and drizzly early Sunday morning start to make the most of a chance to share photographic skills, and learn how to spot small wildlife most of us would never have guessed was in the Makana Botanical Gardens.

If the future of our natural heritage is in the hands of young people like this (pupils and student mentors included), there’s definitely hope.

This was the second successful Photo Walk organised by the Grocott’s team – the first was just over a month ago at the Joza Youth Hub, in partnership with our Syracuse, New York ‘Our Town, Your Town’ project across the Atlantic. This time, it was to encourage children to enter the WESSA #CelebrateNaturalHeritage photographic competition.

The competition closes at midnight today and there are three categories: scholar, adult amateur and professional. Links to more details at the end of the story on page 12.

In 2016 the Election Connection team put Makana councillor candidates and political parties on the spot in a series of public debates leading up to the local government elections. Once again, we’ve teamed up with local media partners and Rhodes Politics and Journalism schools to bring panel discussions and debates that we hope will make you a better informed voter.

What is the constitutional responsibility of the municipality – and what recourse do citizens have when they’re dissatisfied with service delivery?

The rates debate has raged on social media for weeks. Wednesday’s debate at the Albany Recreation Hall (details on page 4) is a chance to hear the arguments of some of the main players, first-hand. With governance the focus, don’t miss the first in #TheDebate2019 series leading up to the national elections.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow that the young people in our town who are our greatest hope, are also at the greatest risk of the tide of substance abuse creeping in.

The police statistics tell a story, but the real stories are the homes left broke and broken-hearted by a family member enslaved by the drug trade as an addicted user. Living with someone who has an addiction is painful because the person you know isn’t really there.

A Grahamstown magistrate said earlier this year, passing judgment in a brutal drug-fuelled murder, “There is no way a person could be in their right mind and do something like that to another human being.”

  • This is the editorial published on Friday 14 September and refers to articles in that print edition of the newspaper.
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