Spiritfest 2019 Programme

Spiritfest 2019 ran throughout the National Arts Festival, from 27 June to 7 July. Visit our Gallery to see many more pictures.

For photos of previous Spiritfest events, see the Spiritfest Gallery. For videos, see our Videos Page.

Return to this year’s Spiritfest programme.


Come and join in a joyful and colourful parade of public testimony, led by local choirs, and ending with an act of worship and song in the Commemoration Methodist Church. Sun 30 June  15:00 (2 hrs)   Starting point: the Drostdy Arch


The Cathedral

Cathedral – Festival Eucharist Services

30 June                   09:30 (1h30)       The Cathedral. Come and participate in a magnificent Choral Eucharist. The Cathedral Choir, directed by Cameron Luke, will sing Haydn’s ‘Little Organ Mass’. Preacher: Dean Andrew Hunter

7 July                       09:30 (1h30)      The Cathedral. The Makhanda Kwantu Choir will sing the Missa Brevis by Zoltan Kodaly. Preacher: The Revd Canon Dr Claire Nye Hunter

Commemoration Church

Commemoration Methodist Church – Festival Communion Services

30 June   09:00 (1h30)        Commemoration Methodist Church, Church Square. Preacher: Revd Dr Peter Storey

7 July   09:00 (1h30)        Commemoration Methodist Church, Church Square. Preacher: Revd Philip Howarth

Every Nation Church

30 June, 7 July    09:30 (1h30)          Every Nation Church, 10 Hill Street

N G Kerk

Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk

30 Junie                  10:00 (1hr)           NGK, Hillstraat (sien onder, Feesdiens met Drama) 7 Julie                      09:00 (1hr)           NGK, Hillstraat

River of Life Church

30 June, 7 July     10:15 (1hr30)        River of Life Church, corner Hill & Huntley Streets

St Patrick’s Church

St Patrick’s Catholic Church – Sunday Mass

30 June, 7 July      08:00 (1h30)        St Patrick’s Church, Hill Street

Trinity Presbyterian Church

30 June, 7 July      09:30, 18:30 (1h30) Trinity Church, Hill Street



Twee susters voel van God verlate in ‘n noodlydende en gevaarlike wêreld en sukkel om hulle geloof te behou. Aangebied deur die NG Gemeente van Dias. 30 Junie                      10:00 (1hr)             N G Kerk, Hillstraat


Choral Evensong

The Cathedral Choir will sing a traditional Choral Evensong with a difference – featuring works in different languages by South African authors and composers. Fri 28 June                  17:30 (1 hr)           The Cathedral

Weekday Mass – St Patrick’s Catholic Church  

Fri 28 June, Wed 3 & Fri 5 July   13:15 (30 mins)           St Patrick’s Church, Hill Street


A lucernarium is a simple service of lighting the lamps before the darkness of evening sets in. A small choir will lead plainsong sections of the service. A must for those who enjoy contemplative liturgical worship. Wed 3 July                   17:30 (40 mins)    The Cathedral


Christian Meditation

Explore the tradition that comes to us through the centuries from the Desert Fathers and Mothers, led by visitors from the World Community for Christian Meditation and the Centre for Christian Spirituality.

1 – 5 July                    09:30 (1hr)                          St Patrick’s Church, Hill Street


St Michael’s Marimbas

From the beating of the drum to the echoing of the marimba, calling upon nations to unite! An energy-filled experience with St Michael’s Marimbas at the Cathedral. Do not miss out on this chance to be rejuvenated! Fri 28 June, Mon 1 July 13:00 (1 hr)           The Cathedral

Choral Extravaganza – Quava Vocal Group & Makhanda Kwantu Choir

A collaboration between two award-winning South African choirs. Hear the Quava Vocal Group from Johannesburg, and Makhanda’s own Kwantu Community Choir, sing a selection of the best choral works from Africa and all over the world. Both choirs won Diplomas at the World Choir Games in Pretoria in 2018! Sat 29 June                         11:00 (1hr)             The Cathedral

Be Still and Know

Let your heart be touched and your soul become still in the presence of the Lord, with 40 minutes of contemplative Taizé hymns and excerpts from classical works by the Rocher family – Salomie (organ/ piano), Conrad (violin), Julius (violin) and Cornelia (viola). Sun 30 June, Tue 2 July    12:00 (40 mins) N G Kerk, Market Street

Trinity Tenors

Enjoy listening to the lovely voices of Sisa Nomana and Sibu Mkhize. The repertoire of Trinity tenors is a combination of classical and popular music, including well-loved religious works such as ‘Rock of Ages’ and ‘How great Thou art’. Mon 1, Tue 2, Thurs 4 July 17:30 (50 mins)  Trinity Presbyterian Church, Hill Street

Fafa Hopkins

Sweet is the Fruit of the Prickly Pear

Chris Mann takes on the role of backveld troubadour Fafa Hopkins in a unique programme of original songs about the deep south of South Africa. Good medicine for  RAPS (Repetitive AfroPessism Syndrome). Tue 2 July                   17:30 (50 mins)               The Cathedral Coffee Shop, inside the Cathedral

Stephen Holder

Organ Recital (I) ‘Hymns without Words’ – Stephen Holder

Many great composers have based organ works on the melodies of favourite hymns. Come and enjoy a number of such pieces, by Bach and Balbastre, Dyson, Nystedt and Tanke. Stephen Holder taught music at Kingswood College and was the Chapel organist until his retirement at the end of 2018. Tue 2 July                           13:00 (50 mins)     Commemoration Methodist Church, Church Square

Christopher Cockburn

Organ Recital (II) ‘Toccatas, Adagios and Fugues’ – Christopher Cockburn

The brilliant virtuosity of the toccata, the expressive lyricism of the adagio, and the formal complexity of the fugue make up a programme of strong contrasts by composers from different times and places. Christopher Cockburn, a member of staff of the Music Department of UKZN, is a former Director of Music at Grahamstown Cathedral. Wed 3 July                         13:00 (50 mins)               The Cathedral


Climb the narrow spiral steps to view the oldest bell tower in South Africa and learn how the enormous bells are rung.  15 people maximum per tour. Reserve your place at the base of the tower.

Sat 29 June,  Fri 5 & Sat 6 July  13:00 – 13:30 & 13:30 – 14:00 Ringing Chamber, Cathedral Tower


40 Stones in the Wall Group Exhibition

Curated by Jonathan Griffiths

A collective of young artists from across the country explore the relationship between faith and artistic practice in this group exhibition. Various media.

Open daily          27 June – 6 July: 10:00 – 16:00, 17:00 – 20:00. 7 July: 10:00 – 12:00 The Cory Room, behind 108 High Street, next to the Long Table Restaurant

SOMA Group Exhibition

Curated by Jonathan Griffiths

An organisation of parts, a unity in diversity, a house for the soul. This group exhibition explores the fragile boundary between cohesion and fragmentation we experience in our lives today.

Open daily          27 June – 6 July: 09:00 – 17:00. 7 July: 09:00 – 12:00 Fort Selwyn

Delve/Delft: Solo Exhibition by Heidi Salzwedel

An exhibition of drawings dealing with place, history and spirituality through the lens of two towns that share the same name: Delft in Holland and Delft in Western Cape. Open daily          27 June – 6 July: 09:00 – 17:00. 7 July: 09:00 – 12:00 Carinus Art Centre, Beaufort Street

‘The Horn of Plenty’ – Painting-Poems

Let poet Chris Mann guide you around a selection of the original works from the book. Paintings by Julia Skeen combine with Chris’s poems to form unique works of art. Wed 3 July            15:00 (50 mins)                               Chapel of St Mary & All Angels, Rhodes University


Lectures & discussions, 11:00 (1 hr). The Cathedral Coffee Shop, inside the Cathedral

(except second lecture on 4 July, see below)

Fr Anthony Egan SJ

Mon 1 July: ‘The Kin-dom of God in an Age of Uncertainty: Christian Public Witness Between Pope Francis and Donald Trump’ – Fr Anthony Egan SJ

Anthony Egan SJ is a Catholic priest based in Johannesburg, where he works at the Jesuit Institute of South Africa and the Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics, University of the Witwatersrand. The author or co-author of a number of books, chapters in books, journal and newspaper articles, he is by training a historian, political analyst and moral theologian.

Tue 2 July: David Manning, stained glass expert, gives an introduction and tour of the historic Cathedral windows

Paul Walters

Wed 3 July: ‘For God’s sake hold your tongue and let me love: the many loves of John Donne.’ – Prof Paul Walters

Professor Emeritus Paul Walters was born in Port Elizabeth. He was educated at St John’s College, (Prep and College) and Hyde Park High School, both in Johannesburg. He then studied at Rhodes University where he obtained his BA (Hons) and PhD. He lectured in Minnesota, USA for two years: University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg for seven years, and (since 1979) Rhodes University, where he held the H A Molteno Chair of English from 1982 to 2009. For at least 20 years he has taught poetry and drama of the English Renaissance. He has been active in the life of the Cathedral, as a Lay Minister and (latterly) Church Warden. Paul married June Russell in 1971, and the couple have four sons and six grandchildren.

The Very Revd Dr Andrew Hunter

Thurs 4 July:   ‘Student protests, mediation and peace-making at Rhodes University, 2015 – 2016’ – The Very Revd Dr Andrew Hunter.

Andrew Hunter  received his PhD in April 2019 from NMU for his research on student protests at Rhodes University and has been the Dean of Grahamstown (now Makhanda) since 2008. He says: “Student protests, and the protests that form so much of our current SA reality, continue to be with us. My research helps to give some insight into the nature of the protests, and suggests, through the lens of conflict transformation, ways to address these”.

Thurs 4 July: David Manning, stained glass expert, gives an introduction and tour of the chapel windows of historic Grahamstown  schools. Meet at the St Andrew’s College Chapel, corner of Worcester & Somerset Streets at 11:00

Thorsten Marbach

Fri 5 July:  ‘Art, reality and theology: the role of the arts in God’s big story’ –  Thorsten Marbach, engineer and theologian.

Christian creatives sometimes face a predicament: Their works are considered “not Christian enough” by their church, but “too religious” by those outside the church. This talk aims to locate the important role of the Arts in God’s “Big Story”, to highlight the problem with using “Christian” as an adjective to refer to Art, and to make the case that Art carries intrinsic value that needs no further justification.

Thorsten Marbach is a husband, father, engineer and theologian.  He holds degrees in the latter two, while his learning in the first two is ongoing.  Born in Germany but raised in SA, Thorsten started his working life in the corporate world in I.T. and Telecommunications.  He then changed track, and besides his work at L’Abri he teaches at a local Bible College and runs a weekly thought leadership forum.  A common theme in these endeavours is exploring what truth and goodness look like, how we understand and engage reality, and how our faith connects with all areas of life.


Every Nation Church, 10 Hill Street. For more about L’Abri and the speakers, click here.

Wed 3 July, 11.00 – 12.30 ‘Is Art spiritual?’ Thorsten Marbach.

What does it really mean to be “spiritual”?  Does it mean being “other-wordly”?  To be able to speak a religious lingo that only insiders can understand?  Or is it just a synonym for being “deep”?  This interactive session explores a larger and more comprehensive definition of spirituality that – amongst other things – deeply affirms the spiritual value of Art.

Wed 3 July, 14.30 – 16.00 ‘Privilege and power, pride and prejudice’ – Vera Marbach

Christians are privileged both in their position and in the task that they have been given. How does being aware of our privilege affect our being and doing from an apologetics perspective? How do we use creativity, imagination and talents we have been given? Do (or don’t) we point to God – in word, deed and life? Vera Marbach explores the dynamics of privilege, its relationship with apologetics, and both the pitfalls and opportunities this presents.

Thurs 4 July, 10.00 – 11.30 ‘Postdramatic Theatre and the Christian’ – Loraine Beaton

Many Christians kick against postmodernism because of it’s emphasis on subjectivity and relative truth. As a theatre-maker in South Africa, trying to make work that is relevant to our socio-political context, I have found that leaning into this plurality and other postdramatic devices may just be the most Christian thing I can do. In this talk I will put forward parataxis and irruption of the real as two very postmodern and simultaneously very Christian ways of making theatre.

Thurs 4 July 13.30 – 15.00  ‘Three ways of thinking’ – Thorsten Marbach

Why do we sometimes stall and stagnate, but at other times grow and thrive? One key factor is the extent to which we engage in 3 important types of thinking: Creative thinking, logical thinking, and relational thinking. Rather than playing these streams off against each other (e.g. “arty types” vs “science types”), what could it look like if they worked together? This experimental session explores the 3 ways of thinking, what they look like, and why awesome stuff can happen when they combine. There will be plenty of time for discussion.

Thurs 4 July, 16.00 – 17.30 ‘Dwelling in dissonance – a dialogue inspired by poetry’ – Vera Marbach

In music, dissonance refers to an unresolved, discordant chord. It can also be defined as an inconsistency between the beliefs one holds, or conflict between one’s beliefs and one’s actions. Our natural tendency is to move away from this experiential discomfort as quickly as possible. And yet, it is in this uncomfortable place of incongruence, that growth happens. A dialogue inspired by poetry is a process of self-reflection and sense-making as we connect with each other across some of the issues that divide us as South Africans. Vera Marbach presents some poetry from her recently published book “Dwelling in Dissonance” to generate discussion. Expect a heart-to-heart session on where we presently find ourselves and how to move forward meaningfully.

Spiritfest 2021 Programme

Spiritfest 2018 Programme

Spiritfest 2017 Programme

Link to Cathedral website front page