Spiritfest is the Grahamstown Churches’ initiative in the National Arts Festival.

Spiritfest exists to glorify God and to celebrate the Arts in the context of the Christian Faith.

Like us on Facebook: @spiritfest.grahamstown Follow us on Instagram: spiritfest_naf Twitter: @SpiritfestGtown Visit our YouTube Channel


From Thursday 22 June to Sunday 2 July the local churches welcomed visitors, and celebrated the arts, with glorious music and thought-provoking lectures as well as inspiring worship. Please see below the programme we offered this year.

See also our Spiritfest Gallery page, and Spiritfest Videos for photos and video clips from this year’s Spiritfest events, as well as some past highlights.


Mother Gertrude, the Nun who changed the Town

Thurs 22 June to Sun 2 July, 09h00-16h00 St Patrick’s Church Vestibule, Hill Street -33.31095135973386, 26.526968730687997

Mother Gertrude de Henningsen arrived in Grahamstown in 1849, and proceeded to change the town. Her courage (she was a swordswoman, and protected her flock many times), indefatigable energy and compassion saw her homing orphans, building schools and founding the beginnings of a new missionary order: the Missionary Sisters of the Assumption.







Kwantu Choir in Concert

Fri 23 June, Sat 24 June 11h00 (1hr) The Cathedral

Founded in 2017 by conductor Kutlwano Kepadisa, this dynamic choir draws together singers from Grahamstown schools and Rhodes University, as well as community members. Enjoy a concert of some of the best choral works by composers spanning the landscape of the globe, including South Africa. There is something for all to enjoy in this diverse programme. 




Isabelle van Rensburg: Organ Recital

Fri 23 June 13h00 (1hr) The Cathedral

Organ music lovers can look out for an exciting concert presented by an organist from Pretoria, Dr Isabelle van Rensburg. Her programme will include works by old masters like Bach and Mendelssohn and new works by the South African Theo van Wyk, the Hungarian Bálint Karosi and the American Daniel Gawthrop. Music from Russia will include works by Mikael Tariverdiev and a beautiful organ arrangement of a famous melody by Rachmaninoff for the organ.

Tickets at the door: R50 full, R20 concessions.




Organ Crawl – ‘Historical Makhandian Pipe Organs’

Sat 24 June 14h00 (1 hr) St Bartholomew’s 

Corner Bartholomew & Market Streets -33.31430429031427, 26.531148784656004

and Wesley Methodist: Corner Market & York Streets -33.312131, 26.535516

This event seeks to explore two gems of the rich pipe-organ heritage of Makhanda, the 1832-7 William Hill at Wesley Chapel and the 1871 Gray and Davison at St Bartholomew’s. Starting at St Bartholomews, the concert will move down the street to Wesley Methodist, giving concert-goers the chance to explore the history, sound and social legacy of these two amazing instruments. 

Retiring collection.


Christiaan Carstens: Organ Recital

Tue 27 June 13h00 (1hr) The Cathedral. 

The recital will include music from the baroque to modern, and will include compositions by Buxtehude, Bach, Franck, Bedard, Price, Messiaen, Troskie, Whitlock and Fletcher.  The intention is to present the beautiful instrument in the cathedral to the audience with a selection of melodious, delicate and exciting compositions.

Tickets at the door: R50 full, R20 concessions.






‘Bawo Khuselo’ presented by Msaki

Wed 28 June 19h00 (1 hr) The Cathedral

‘Bawo Khusela’ is a musical performance of uplifting songs from Msaki’s catalogue, arranged for and accompanied by a 23 piece choir, uHadi ensemble and traditional String Quartet in the Cathedral, as part of Spiritfest. Msaki will be working in collaboration with choir conductor and co-arranger Kutlwano Kepadisa and the Cathedral Choir. For more details see the Festival programme.

 Tickets R50. Book online or at the door.




‘Oratorio at Home’ presented by Saeculum Aureum

Thurs 29 June 17h00 (1 hr) Christ Church:

2 Speke Street -33.30566640031622, 26.5237981

Victorian England was obsessed with the oratorio, and in an age when recorded music was not available, experiencing these works often meant hearing them live or delving into them yourself. This was facilitated by the explosion of middle-class piano ownership and the mass production  of sheet music.‘Oratorio at Home’, presented by Saeculum Aureum, seeks to recreate this sound-world using extracts from three oratorios: The Messiah, The Creation, and Elijah. By performing this music on minimal resources, one can explore sonic and musical perspectives to this music that come out with the intimacy of six performers. 

Retiring collection



Theo van Wyk: Organ Recital

Fri 30 June 13h00 (1hr) The Cathedral

The recital will endeavour to showcase the versatility of the historic Grahamstown Cathedral organ. The programme will explore this instrument’s plethora of timbres, soundscapes and rich possibilities. Come and experience the sound ideology of the most critical eras in the organ world ranging from the Baroque period to the 21st Century in a well-crafted list of repertoire choices.

Tickets at the door: R50 full, R20 concessions.




‘Purcell Plus’

Sat 1 July 12:00 (1 hr) St Bartholomew’s Church, Bartholomew Street: -33.31430429031427, 26.531148784656004

Glorious choral, solo, string quartet and organ music at lunchtime, in the historic setting of St Bartholomew’s Church, Sunnyside.

Entrance is free, but contributions to a retiring collection to assist with expenses would greatly be appreciated.





Lectures with discussion

Prof Rui Krause: ‘God: the best Chemist in the Universe’

 Mon 26 June: 11:00 (1 hr) St Patrick’s Church Hall, Hill Street -33.31095135973386, 26.526968730687997


A journey through some of the most beautiful chemicals in and around us.
Previously I spoke about how science and God are intimately linked. As a chemist, I see these links every day in the many beautiful molecules and systems that make life possible.
Some of these molecules, for me, hint at the attention to detail that only a loving Creator would be capable of providing, and in this talk, I’d love to try and show you a tiny selection of my favourite ones.


Jamie McGregor: ‘Going through Hell, the self-help secrets of Dante’s Inferno

Tue 27 June: 11h00 (1 hr) St Patrick’s Church Hall, Hill Street -33.31095135973386, 26.526968730687997

Part book signing, part not-so-divine comedy, this talk by Jamie McGregor will help you navigate a light-hearted tour of the nine circles of Hell. Dante’s Inferno is secretly a medieval self-help guide, and this talk is intended to introduce Dante to the uninitiated.

You can pick up a copy of Jamie’s book for R180 after the talk (R150 for students and scholars).







Meditate with the Mystics

Explore the tradition that comes to us through the centuries from the Desert Fathers and Mothers, led by a visitor from the World Community for Christian Meditation. 26 – 30 June 09:30 (1hr) St Patrick’s Church, Hill Street: -33.31095135973386, 26.526968730687997 

For full programme, click here: Meditate with the Mystics



Guided Prayer (online)

A week of Guided Prayer led by a group of prayer guides trained in Ignatian Spirituality. Guided prayer allows one’s prayer life to become enriched. Through experiencing different ways of praying you will become more aware of God’s presence in your daily life. For a short video, explaining how Guided Prayer works, click here. Contact Sr Geraldine on 072 631 9048 or [email protected] to arrange times to meet with your personal prayer guide online.




Choral Evensong

Fri 23 June 17h30 The Cathedral

A service beloved in English Cathedrals can be found right here in Makhanda. The Cathedral Consort, directed by Kutlwano Kepadisa, will sing a traditional Choral Evensong.







Taizé Service

Wed 28 June 17h30 St Patrick’s Church, Hill Street: -33.31095135973386, 26.526968730687997

What is the Taizé style of worship?  Taizé Prayer is evening prayer for all Christian faiths. It is a simple, meditative form of worship, calling us to dwell deeply on Christ’s presence around and within us. Wrap up warmly and bring your singing voices.






The Cathedral

Festival Eucharist Services – Cathedral, Church Square

Come and participate in a magnificent Choral Eucharist. 25 June 09h30 (1hr30) Preacher:  Dean Mzinzisi Dyantyi. The Cathedral Choir, directed by Kutlwano Kepadisa, will sing . 2 July 09h30 (1hr30) Preacher: The Sub-Dean, Melany Adonis. 




Commemoration Church

Commemoration Methodist Church, Church Square

25 June 08h30 (1hr30) 

Every Nation Church, 10 Hill Street

25 June, 2 July 09h30 (1hr30)  




Ned. Geref. Kerk

Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk, Hillstraat

25 Junie, 2 Julie 09h00 (1hr)  


River of Life Church, corner Hill & Huntley Streets

25 June, 2 July 08h30, 10h30 (1hr30)  


Trinity Church


St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Hill Street – Sunday Mass

25 June, 2 July  08h00 (1hr) -33.31095135973386, 26.526968730687997

Trinity Presbyterian Church, Hill Street

25 June, 2 July 09h30, 18h30, (English), 15h00 (Vernacular) (1hr30)    




Sat 1 July Meet at 10h00 at the Drostdy Arch, top of High Street, to walk down High Street, singing in witness! No longer than 20 minutes, ending at the Cathedral entrance. Bring church banners if any, wear robes or church uniforms. Song sheets will be provided! 






Spiritfest Gallery

Spiritfest Videos page

Spiritfest YouTube channel.

Spiritfest 2022 Programme

Spiritfest 2021 Programme

Spiritfest 2019 Programme

Spiritfest 2018 Programme

Spiritfest 2017 Programme

Link to Cathedral website front page