Grahamstown is the home of South Africa’s oldest postbox. It can be found on the St Andrews College Corner at the north-west end of Worcester Street where it intersects with Someset Street. It has been standing there quietly, doing its job, since somewhere between 1859 and 1860 – some 165 years now.
It was declared as a national monument on 17 March 1989, some 130 years after it was placed there. It won’t be retiring anytime soon, despite having been vandalised a few years back when the letters “VR” denoting the reigning monarch of the era, Queen Victoria, were stolen.
Theoretically letter placed there should, but don’t, receive a special frank. This is something the Makana Tourism Board should address with the Post Office who are working with the National Arts Festival to release special heritage stamps in conjunction with the festival. For the 40th anniversary of the festival the Post Office is releasing a special series of stamps honouring ten music legends who have passed on, but whose vibrant music still inspires.
A series of free indigenous music concerts will be held at ILAM (International Library of African Music) daily at 11:00 and on the Sundowner Stage at the 1820 Monument every day from 4 July to 12 July at 13:00 and 15:00. On Tuesday 8 July at 17:00 there will be a special concert, free, on the Sundowner Stage, 1820 Monument Foyer featuring the music of these ten music legends played by community musicians from New Brighton and with dancing from Grahamstown dancers.
The first day covers for the new series of stamps are available from the Post Office in Grahamstown during the Festival on two different envelopes in the set, each at a price of R18.00 (R36 for the set of two).
The music legends being honoured are James Phillips (Bernoldus Niemand), Brenda Fassie, Johannes Kerkorrel (Ralph Rabie), Lucky Dube, Miriam Makeba, Solomon Linda, Spokes Mashiayane, Simon Nkabinde (Mahlatini), Kippi Moeketsi, Taliep Petersen.