Ricochet News

'Grahamstown National Arts Festival not going anywhere'

May 7, 2018
'Grahamstown National Arts Festival not going anywhere'

The Grahamstown National Arts Festival is going nowhere anytime soon, that is the message from the organisers.

According to weekend media reports, Grahamstown National Arts Festival CEO, Tony Lankester, had implied that the festival would relocate during a meeting with Co-operative Governance Minister, Zweli Mkhize, because of concerns over governance and service delivery in the Makana Local Municipality.

"In response to some sensationalist headlines and online chatter: There are no plans to move the National Arts Festival anywhere," the festival's organisers said in a statement posted on the Festival's Facebook page on Sunday.

"The infrastructure issues in Grahamstown have been around for a while, and have been widely discussed over the years - the current media reports are not telling us anything those of us in Grahamstown don't already know!"

They said that what is new is a proactive and energetic movement among the citizens, institutions and businesses of Grahamstown, and a determination to overcome the challenges the city faces.

"We're seeing evidence of this on the streets of the City - roads being repaired, clean-up initiatives spearheaded by local business and private citizens, private investment in infrastructure, and more brain power and energy than ever before being focused on reviving Grahamstown," read the statement.

"This energy has caught the attention of local, provincial and national government and we are seeing new public-private partnerships emerge, and new commitments being made to the City by government.

"We are positive about the future and look forward to continuing to be part of the social and economic life of Grahamstown and the Eastern Cape ... starting with this year's Festival, its amazing programme, its new and revitalized Village Green and a warm welcome from the people of Grahamstown."

The organisers said that in 53 days, thousands of people will converge on Grahamstown from around the world, "and we're working hard to make sure that experience is as amazing as possible!"