I first came to Grahamstown in 2014, halfway through my matric year and I sat in the auditorium; of a school, of the theatre, of the Monument, and saw theatre – more than I had seen before. I came to UCKAR (University Currently Known as Rhodes) with one goal in mind, to act and perform at the Rhodes Theatre. I arrived with no plan to study Journalism. I was going to do Drama…and something else of the BA persuasion.
I had always enjoyed writing and thought about joining The Oppidan Press, one of the student media organisations on campus, but JMS 1 was not on the cards. Until it was. I was sitting in a Media Studies lecture, popping out articles. A Journ kid (even though we were presumptuous to call ourselves that until 2nd year). People are shocked when I tell them I do Drama, but Journ has been equally comfort-zone-shattering.
In the process of crafting a feature article, I arrived at the daunting task of interviewing Rebecca Peyton, an actress I had met in 2013 when I attended her one-woman show. In search of her contact details, I emailed the director of the Grahamstown Foundation who gave me Rebecca’s agent’s email address. I then contacted Ms Irvin in the most formal email-speak I could muster. 23 emails later and I invited Rebecca on skype. Picture me sitting in my residence room in South Africa and Rebecca, casually chatting to me from her bed in London. It floored me to be talking to someone who I had last seen from the audience of an amazing performance onstage. It was one of my first ‘mhmm, that’s journ’ moments.
Fast forward to a series of articles I did for The Oppidan Press’ Arts and Entertainment section. I was tasked with interviewing lecturers on their favourite books. I learnt and wrote about a mystery-loving Drama professor, the history books of a Geographer and the literary notes of a music lecturer.
The last scene begins here, I was by myself at the Union (a hub on campus) and I was attending a concert with a bunch of different performers. It was really fun until it reached 11 pm and I was almost the last person there, listening to a rock band in tutus, and writing a review on it. Atop a table, with notepad and ugg-clad feet, I did the journalism.