Yesterday was the bicentenary of the Battle of Grahamstown. I’ve always intended to visit the site but somehow never managed it. So this afternoon I took a brief gap in the rain to go across the valley to Egazini: the township based heritage site.
On the way there you get a good view of the slopes of Makana’s Kop up above the streets of Fingo Village. These were the hillsides that the Xhosa warriors descended to attack Grahamstown.
Makana’s Kop was wreathed in low cloud
When I got to Egazini I found that it was lying neglected – almost in ruins. A ring of wet embers showed the remains of a fire that lay within an outer ring of plastic rubbish. A dog was picking its way through the trash.
Dog scrounging in the litter at Egazini
The impressive artworks are still standing but the eyes and mouth of one was vandalised. Egazini is in a beautiful setting with views up and down the valley. It’s easy to see Fort England, Fort Selwyn and the other colonial sites but I didn’t see any story boards or information about the battle or the site itself. Maybe I should have looked harder but what I saw didn’t inspire me to linger.
Egazini in ruins
Egazini, the site of the battle of Grahamstown
It’s saddened me to find this important site in such a ruined state – abandoned and neglected – like so many things in the newly renamed Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) it is full of potential that has gone to waste.
There has been a good deal of public discussion about the recently released 2011 population census and it is now possible to start to see some of the local level information. I downloaded the spreadsheet of age-sex information for all of the country’s municipalities from the website of Statistics South Africa. Then it was a relatively simple process to construct the age-sex pyramid for EC104: Makana Municipality – it is something that we do with our GOG102 Introduction to Global Development students though we have been using the data from 2001 census up to now.
Here’s the result.
Three things stand out:
The low number of females in the 30-34 age group-presumably due to the differential impact of HIV-AIDs on women as opposed to men. This trend was reported in the BBC’s website earlier this year.
The large numbers of 20-24 year olds, especially women, who are presumably students at Rhodes University. We know that women are in the majority in the student body.
Lastly, and most interestingly, are the increasing number of children aged under nine. This seems to indicate that there is a reversal in the Total Fertility Rate which was thought to be declining in South Africa. You can see this in the 2001 age-sex pyramid for Grahamstown below which is tapered at the bottom.
To my mind the really interesting feature is the number of young children at the bottom of the pyramid – that is something requiring further examination.
If you are interested in Grahamstown there’s a nice selection of my Grahamstown pictures over at my online portal roddythefox.co.za.