• Grahamstown Foundation

    To enrich the educational and cultural life of the people of South Africa

    “That all might have life and have it more abundantly”

  • About the Grahamstown Foundation

    For 50 years the Foundation has aimed to fulfill its mandate of enriching the cultural and educational life of our country – first in our home community of Grahamstown, but also through projects which span the whole of South Africa and touch tens of thousands of our people each year. We have four main focus areas:

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    The Foundation aims to:

    • Enrich the study of language
    • Promote and enhance the way South Africans communicate by fostering, igniting and encouraging open and meaningful debate
    • Improve the quality of language teaching
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    The Arts

    The Foundation supports artistic endeavour by:

    • Providing facilities for performers
    • Creating opportunities for participation in the performing and visual Arts
    • Promoting South African art, culture and literature


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    The Sciences

    The Foundation promotes a love of science in South Africa by:

    • Providing scientists with opportunities to make science accessible to all
    • Showing that science, engineering and technology permeate business and everyday life
    • Encouraging enquiry into the origins and different disciplines of science
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    The Foundation believes in free and open debate and discussion, and to this end

    • Facilitates conferences and seminars on matters of national concern.
    • Maintains and provides a world class conferencing and meeting facility
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    We have launched a process to identify a new name for the building we call home - the 1820 Settlers Monument.


    Download the briefing document that outlines the rationale for the change, and the process to make submissions.

  • Our Story

    The story of the Grahamstown Foundation is one rooted in a deep and abiding belief in the value of education and growth. It is a story of resilience, persistence and focus – from some early visionaries who overcame the odds to build something extraordinary on the bedrock of the spirit of the 1820 Settlers. We're working on a comprehensive account of the Grahamstown Foundation's roots, the story of its origin and its legacy, its evolution and with a look to its future ambitions. That complete story will form part of this website once completed.

  • Our Venues

    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. Ranging from a spectacular 1000-seater auditorium to small meeting rooms, and including a fully functional kitchen, banqueting area, bar and coffee shop, we can host your event with ease.

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

    To book any venue or find out more, please complete the form at the bottom of this page.

    Guy Butler Theatre

    Our flagship venue - a 943-seater auditorium with stage, PA, lighting, projection facilities and dressing rooms. Has accommodated full orchestra, opera and ballet performances; movies, bands, theatre, and dance and makes an excellent venue for a conference plenary or keynote, school or club prizegiving or graduation ceremony. The Guy Butler Theatre is versatile and comfortable.

    Olive Schreiner Theatre

    A 200-seater cinema style venue with big screen and surround sound.

    Thomas Pringle Hall

    A large hall, seating approximately 350 delegates in cinema style or 250 in classroom style.

    Accommodates weddings and banquets of 250 people.

    Fountain Foyer

    Excitingly different, distinctive and versatile - the symbolic heart of the Monument with the Yellowwood sculpture, the bubbling Millstone Fountain and the Skotnes murals.
    Suits both formal and informal occasions - flower shows, craft markets, weddings and banquets
    Especially suited to choir, steel band and larger groups.

    Can accommodate up to 460 people.

    The New Gallery

    Formerly the offices of the National Arts Festival in the basement of the Monument, the New Gallery comprises four separate rooms, an open plan area and a reception. It is suitable for team breakaways and brainstorming session.

    Council Chamber

    A smaller venue suitable for 30 people seated around a formal boardroom table. Balcony over the Monument entrance.

    Monument Restaurant

    Magnificent views of the Douglas Reservoir, Mountain Drive Nature Reserve and parts of Grahamstown. Great for Weddings, Banquets & Private Parties, 200 diners can be seated or 400 accommodated cocktail-style.

    Ntsikana Gallery, Atherstone Room & Yellowwood Terrace

    Spacious halls located on either side of Thomas Pringle Hall. Panoramic views of Grahamstown from Nstikana Gallery and the Yellowwood Terrace. Seats 80 - 120 for lectures and suitable for smaller banquets.

    Rehearsal Room

    The Rehearsal Room has an end on stage with a sprung wooden floor, and is 12m x 11m

    B2 Arena

    B2 is an intimate black box performance space with stage and audience seated in the three quarter round, used ideally as an intimate drama and comedy venue. The stage is a black wooden floor raised 0.1m. The venue is blacked out.

    Gallery in the Round

    An intriguing and interesting space beneath the Guy Butler stage for unique, intimate exhibitions and performances

    Monument Gallery

    Our premier art gallery which comes alive throughout the year with exhibitions from top South African artists.

  • Our Projects

    The Grahamstown Foundation has initiated a number of projects that help us fulfill our objectives.
    Management of these projects is undertaken through a partnership with the National Arts Festival.

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    Scifest Africa was established in 1996 to promote the public awareness, understanding and appreciation of science, technology and innovation (STI).

    The project consists of the National Science Festival held in Grahamstown in March every year, and regional and national outreach programmes implemented throughout the rest of the year.

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    The South African Schools Festivals bring 6000 South African learners and their teachers to the threshold of artistic, educational, dramatic and social enrichment. The flagship National Schools Festival for grade 12 learners takes place in Grahamstown at the same time as the National Arts Festival. Then it goes on the road - and visits cities across the country with mini-Festival programmes of performance and workshops.

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    The English Olympiad is an English competition that draws over 8000 entries each year from around South Africa and its neighbouring countries. The competition is organised jointly by the Grahamstown Foundation and the South African Council for English Education.

    We welcome participation from schools across the country in this prestigious competition. Contact us for more information about the prizes on offer and how to take part.

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    Each weekend we screen great movies at the Monument for members of our club – an annual membership and a bundle of credits is your gateway to some ongoing silver screen magic!

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    We have some great new projects and activities lined up...we'll keep you informed right here!

  • Partner Projects

    Apart from the Foundation's core projects, we also work closely with other organisations on a range of projects and collaborations.

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    The country's flagship arts event – the iconic National Arts Festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors to Grahamstown each year to enjoy thousands of performances, exhibitions, a craft market, lectures and films.

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    The Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa (SSOSA) was founded to encourage and stimulate engagement with the works of William Shakespeare.

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    The Amaphiko Township Dance Project provides formal, modern dance training to 200 girls and boys.

  • Support Us!

    To keep the Foundation sustainable, and to cover the costs of running the Monument, we rely on kind donations and support from the community, government, Trusts and corporate South Africa. The types of contribution we have received in the past include:
    - Support for specific projects and activities. Tell us where your heart is, and we'll find something that resonates!
    - Maintenance grants for the Monument
    - Bequests and legacies that can provide ongoing support
    - Once-off donations
    - CSI partnerships with Corporates who align with our aims and objectives

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    Want to contribute or find out more? Give us your details below and we'll be in touch.

  • Funders

    We are grateful to our funders and sponsors who contribute to our mission, our projects and to our organisation in a multitude of ways.

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  • Contact Us

  • Governance


    The Foundation has a management partnership with the National Arts Festival, which sees the staff from both organisations working across all our projects and venues.

    CEO: Monica Newton
    Administration Officer: Lumka Klaas


    Phone: 046 603 1100

    Email: admin@foundation.org.za


    Use the Contact form above to send one of our team a message.


    The Foundation is led by a volunteer Board who oversee the governance of the organisation.

    Chair: Mr Sikkie Kajee

    Directors: Professor Jay Pather, Ms A Lebete, Dr Hleze Kunju, Ms Elinor Sisulu, Mr Grahame Lindop, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, Ms Michelle Constant, Mr Robert Grace, Mr Tony Lankester
    Hon Life President: Mr NLN Davies