South Africa

PO Box 304

Phone: +27 (0)46-6031100
Fax: +27 (0)46-6031173

Grahamstown Foundation

The Grahamstown Foundation is a non-profit South African company that manages a wide variety of projects, including the National Arts Festival, SA National Science Festival, the National Schools Festivals and eight regional schools Festivals, the English Olympiad, the Eisteddfod, Sakhisizwe, Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa and the Village Green Fair.

The Foundation also administers the 1820 Settlers National Monument which is both a national heritage institution and a conference and functions venue.

Amid reminders of the past, the Foundation encourages the principles and ideals of the South African constitution.

More than a quarter of a million people, from all cultural backgrounds, use the building each year.

The enrichment of arts, culture and education helps build a common South African culture. Thus, through encouraging freedom of speech and social interaction, the Grahamstown Foundation has long played a vital role in the new democracy emerging in South Africa.

The fire in 1994 devastated the Monument... but the projects and Festivals were able to continue. This showed that the projects had a strength of their own and proved that the original concept of creating a "living monument" was sound.

Permanent Collection

The Monument was built to commemorate the contributions made by English-speaking Settlers to South Africa. It is unlike any other monument because, since its opening on 13 July 1974, this superbly equipped building has been a centre of creative thought and activity.

The Monument has become a meeting place for all South Africans. It was built to commemorate a worthy heritage and to encourage us to look forward with hope.

Amid reminders of the past, the building provides facilities for use by all South Africans, in particular activities which encourage the ideals of freedom of speech, social interaction and the use of English as a contact language.

This concept of a living Monument led to the establishment of highly successful educational and cultural projects. The Monument is now used by well over 200 000 people a year from all South African groups.

The English language and the democratic tradition
The 1820 Settlers Monument is not used to glorify one section of the community, but to draw attention, in particular, to two portions of their heritage which could be shared by all South Africans - the English language and the democratic tradition, both of value to the country, now and in the future.

Free tours of the building are provided on request. Please contact the Foundation for more information.

Museum internal and external photos (3)

Click on the images to enlarge

News and events

The Grahamstown Foundation manages a wide variety of projects that encourage the principles and ideals of the Foundation itself as well as the South African Constitution.

The annual South African Schools Festivals of English celebrate the language and its literature, giving school children from all parts of Southern Africa an opportunity to participate in poetry, drama and dance workshops, and attend exhibitions, museum presentations, lectures, films and concerts.

The De Beers English Olympiad presents senior school pupils with the challenge of expressing their views on a set piece of literature in an open-book examination written in March each year.

Most famously, the Grahamstown Foundation is fully involved in the fine and performing Arts.

The The National Arts Festival, held annually at the Monument and at venues across greater Grahamstown, offers an exciting and internationally renowned programme of music, dance, drama and fine art.

Additionally, the Village Green Fair has fast become the most sought after venue in South Africa for artists, crafters and flea-market fanatics.

The annual Eastern Cape Eisteddfod, incorporating dance, speech and drama, photography and original writing, enables young people to present their work before expert adjudicators and to compare notes with others.


The Grahamstown Foundation works to enrich the teaching environment, to provide youth leadership and guidance opportunities, to promote formal and informal education and to improve training for education personnel.

Sasol SciFest offers a spectrum of no less than 600 events and activities including lectures, workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions, excursions, science olympics, a film-fest and street parades in just seven days.

The Sakhisizwe project aims to assist teachers to enhance their professional teaching skills by providing them with Workshops followed up with Classroom Support visits where individual teachers' problems and needs are addressed.

The Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa strives to help people enjoy themselves through theatrical and intellectual exploration focused on Shakespeare, with particular attention to his 'after-life' in Southern Africa.

Venue hire

The 1820 Settlers National Monument, part of the cultural heritage of all South Africans, is a living monument with excellent facilities and well maintained equipment - at affordable prices.

The facilities it contains were designed and intended to be used for the greater cultural and educational enrichment of the nation and to honor the concluding statement of the Foundation's charter "that all may have life and have it more abundantly".

A complete list of the venues available for hire can be found at

Competitive rates are available and these can be tailored to suit your budget.

Please contact