Arms of the Cathedral of St Michael and St George Anglican Compass Rose

Cathedral of St Michael and St George

Spiritfest 2014

Square Spirit Fest Logo Spirit Fest Logo

Spiritfest forms part of the National Arts Festival and is a celebration of the arts in the context of faith. A variety of events unfolds over the period from 3 July 2014 to 13 July 2014 at the Grahamstown Cathedral and at other churches in Grahamstown.

The programme runs in a number of streams, namely:

Festival Worship Services

Choral Evensong for Artists - Fri 4 July

An inspiring Choral Evensong for festival goers, visual artists, musicians, writers and arts administrators. The service will feature the Cathedral Choir and original music, hymns and artwork by South African arts practitioners creating a unique act of sacred performance art.


Time: 17:30 - 18:30 on Friday 4 July
Venue: Grahamstown Cathedral

Choral Eucharist - Sun 6 July

Come and participate in a magnificent, multilingual choral Eucharist with music composed by the Cathedral Choristers and rousing hymns led by the Cathedral Director of Music and Organist Dr Andrew-John Bethke and accompanied by the St Michael's marimbas.

Congregation at the Cathedral

Preacher: Archbishop Thabo Makgoba
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Time: 09.30 on Sunday, 6 July
Venue: Grahamstown Cathedral

Festival Eucharist - Sun 13 July

A music-filled devotional Eucharist with the St Michael's Martimbas.
Preacher: The Revd P Duncan Mbonyana, Director of the Leadership and Development Training Programme of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, based at the College of the Transfiguration, Grahamstown
The Reverend P. Duncan Mbonyana Time: 09.30 on Sunday, 7 July
Venue: Grahamstown Cathedral


Gospel Africa Music Concerts

Gospel music remains the most popular grass- roots music form in South Africa. This is your chance to experience the passion of new and established singers and bands.

Gospel Africa Concert

Times: 19.30 on Friday 4 July
and at 19.30 on Saturday 5 July
Venue: Trinity Presbyterian Church, 57 Hill Street
Tickets: R30 at the door.

Organ Recital

Andrew-John Bethke will present a varied programme of music for the organ, including works by Bach, Brahms and Boëllmann. Dr Bethke has performed widely in South Africa and internationally. Don't miss this opportunity to hear an outstanding young musician and a world-class cathedral organ.

Andrew-John Bethke

Times: 15.00 on Tuesday, 4 July
Venue: Grahamstown Cathedral
Cost: Retiring collection

St. Michael's Marimbas - 10th anniversary performance

Enjoy a stimulating variety of sacred and secular music from Africa and abroad played by the St Michael's Marimba groups.

St Michaels Marimbas

Times: 13.15 on Monday, 7 July
and at 13.15 on Thursday, 10 July
Venue: Grahamstown Cathedral
Cost: Retiring collection

Bellringing in the Cathedral Tower

Climb the 67 cathedral tower steps to view the oldest of South Africa's seven bell towers and see how the bells are rung. Each tour is half an hour long and can accomodate a maximum 15 people.
Times: 13.00 - 13.30 & 13.30 - 14.00 on
Friday, 4 July; Saturday, 5 July; and Saturday, 12 July
Venue: Spire of the Grahamstown Cathedral
Cost: Free, but donations will be welcomed

Art Exhibitions

40 Stones in the Wall

40 Stones Art Exhibit

Paul Greenway, Keith Van Winkel, Julia Skeen, Asanda Lusaseni-Mvana, Heidi Salzwedel, Jonathan Griffiths, Bronwen Salton, Marie Mohlomi, and others.

Grahamstown locals and internationals create a faith based art initiative with paintings, drawings and sculptures on themes of preparation and promise, waiting and completion, ruin and rebuilding, and relationships among people, the city, the nation and God. You are invited to chat with the artists-in-residence, who are creating artwork daily. All ages are welcome.

Times: Daily from 14.30 to 17.00 & 18:00 to 22.00 and later
Venue: The Cory Room. This is off the passage leading to the Long Table restaurant behind 108 High Street and opposite King Pie.
Cost: Free

Ageless Madonna: the transfiguration of Mary of Nazareth

Julia Skeen's iconic interpretations of Mary of Nazareth place her in three different cultural contexts.

Julia Skeen

Times: Daily from 10.00 to 16.00
Venue: The Grahamstown Cathedral
Cost: Free

Winter School

The Spiritfest Winter School which will be run in the Chapter House of the Cathedral will comprise two elements this year:

  1. Lectures
  2. Book Launches


Mon 7 JulThabo Makgoba
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba
Housing and Family Life in South Africa: Raised in Alexandra Township, Archbishop Makgoba, whose PhD from UCT explored aspects of local spirituality, discusses an issue at the heart of South Africa's civil unrest.Revd Monwabisi Peter
Tue 8 JulMike Smuts
Ds Mike Smuts DD
Science, Faith and the Bible: Dr Smuts, former moderator of the Northern Synod of the DRC, will lecture on issues of faith and the Bible that are in apparent conflict with ever-evolving science.Ms Ann Greer
Thu 10 JulMarjorie Jobson
Dr Marjorie Jobson and Juan Kariem
Reconciliation: Cheap or Costly? Dr Marjorie Jobson (National Director, Khulumani Support Group) and Juan Kariem (Worcester Hope and Reconciliation Process) tell the story of a journey towards reconciliation between one of the Worcester bombers and the community that was violated. Discussion and short videoDr Tally Palmer
Fri 11 JulPaul Walters
Professor Paul Walters
C S Lewis: 1898 - 1963: The Prof, the Lord and the literary classics: Professor Walters (Rhodes) commemorates the 50th anniversary of the death of CS Lewis with a lecture on his life and the continuing influence of his workMs Maggy Clarke
Sat 12 JulAnthony Egan
Rev'd Dr Anthony Egan SJ
Till Jesus returns: unpacking democracy, dissent and divinity in a liberated South Africa The Rev'd Dr Anthony Egan SJ is based at the Jesuit Institute in Johannesburg and has written widely on faith, justice and socio-politics in Africa and elsewhere. The lecture takes place at St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church at 47 Hill Street.Mr Raymond Perrier.

Times: 11.00 to 12.00 daily
Venue: The Chapter House inside the Grahamstown Cathedral, except for Dr Egan's lecture on 12 Jul which will be at St Patrick's Church.
Cost: Retiring collection

Recordings of some of these talks are available to buy

Book Launches

Elijah Baloyi: Building African Christian Marriages

Building African Christian Marriages book cover

Professor Baloyi (UNISA) launches his book with an overview of a crucially important topic in contemporary South African life.
Chair: Revd Monwabisi Peter
Time: 11.00 to 12.00 on Friday 4 July
Venue: The Chapter House inside the Grahamstown Cathedral
Cost: Retiring collection

Chris Mann: Rudiments of Grace

Professor Mann (Rhodes) launches his latest book with a lecture on Contemporary aspects of evolution, neural science and love. The book is inspired by Dante's classic sequence of love-poems.
With readings by award-winning actor David Butler.
Chair: Judge Edwin Cameron
Time: 11.00 to 12.00 on Saturday 5 July
Venue: The Chapter House inside the Grahamstown Cathedral
Cost: Retiring collection

Trevor Webster: Healdtown: Under the Eagle's Wings.

Healdtown: Under the Eagle's Wings book cover

Trevor Webster launches his history of the influential mission school that produced struggle leaders such as Nelson Mandela.
Chair: Professor Francis Wilson (UCT)
Time: 11.00 to 12.00 on Wednesday 9 July
Venue: The Chapter House inside the Grahamstown Cathedral
Cost: Retiring collection


The Transfiguration of Mary

Enter the stillness of a meditation that will leave those present inwardly calm and refreshed.
This year's meditation focuses on the transfiguration of Mary, a young village woman, into a symbolic figure with global significance. The meditation will be guided by Julia Skeen, an experienced meditation practitioner.
Time: 10:00 - 10:50 on Tuesday 8 July & Thursday 10 July
Venue: The Grahamstown Cathedral
Cost: Free


The Ballad of Dirk de Bruin

How does a backveld farm boy become a whistle-blower? Dirk de Bruin describes his controversial encounter with prosperity religion in contemporary South Africa. David Butler, acclaimed for one-handers depicting Charles Bosman (over 500 performances so far) and The Braam Fischer Waltz (2013 Standard Bank Ovation Silver Award), delivers another tour de force. Award-winning playwright Chris Mann provides the script.
Time: 19:30 on 3, 4 and 7 July
12:00 on 5 July
10:00 on 6 July
20:30 on 9 July
21:30 on 10 July
20:00 on 11 July
Venue: Oatlands Hall

Spirtfest Fringe

Open Mike

Share a poem, a story, a sacred text, a song or testimony - yours or somebody else's - with a sympathetic audience in the beauty of a sacred site.
Emcee: Rev'd Claire Nye-Hunter
Time: 15:00 - 16:00 on Wednesday 9 July
Venue: Chapter House inside the Cathedral
Cost: Free, but donations are welcomed

Finding God in the Arts

A series of invitations from the Jesuit Institute to explore how God is present in the arts - for performers and spectators; for the religious, the spiritual and the plain curious.

Monday 7th July to Saturday 12th July at St Patrick's Church, 47 Hill Street, just below the Public Library.

The Jesuit Institute

10.00-12.00: Spiritual conversations

Drop in for as long as you wish to discuss, with an experienced spiritual director, the deeper dimensions of the art that you are experiencing or creating. Perhaps you felt deeply moved by something and want to share that feeling with others. Or perhaps you have come out of a performance and wondered what that was all about.

12.15-12.45: Guided Meditation

Each day a trained spiritual director will lead a meditation based on a different Scripture passage connected with the experience of the arts. Open to people of all faiths and none: no experience necessary. A chance for reflection - or just for silence!

13.00-13.45: Finding God in...: daily lecture

Each day members of our team will share how they find God in different aspect of the arts, not necessarily the most obvious ones!

15.00-17.00: Spiritual conversations

17.15-17.45: Guided Meditation (using non-Biblical sources of inspiration)

18.00-18.45: Finding God in...: daily lecture

Programme of lectures

TitleLecturerTime 1Time 2
An offer you can't refuse
Finding God in the Godfather
Fr Anthony Egan SJWed 9th
Fri 11th
Lord of the Dance
Finding God in the creation of dance
Dr Annemarie Paulin-CampbellMon 7th
Tues 8th
Chamber of Secrets
Finding God in the world of Harry Potter
Frances CorreiaMon 7th
Weds 9th
To boldly go
Finding God in the sci-fi universes
Fr Anthony Egan SJTues 8th
Thurs 10th
The Sounds of Music
Finding God in the Broadway musical
Raymond PerrierFri 11th
Sat 12th
With trumpet and lute
Finding God in making music
Fr John Moffatt SJThurs 10th
Sat 12th

A modern expression of an ancient devotion

St Patrick's will host a series of modern paintings of the Stations of the Cross by South African artist, Joseph Capelle, normally housed at the Jesuit Church near Wits University in Johannesburg. A smartphone app can be downloaded to help reflect on the pictures.