The area surrounding Grahamstown is rich in clay deposits and so it was no surprise to find a thriving pottery industry when we arrived here. It employed a number of people – much needed in this small town – and produced ceramics under the brand name Drostdy Ware. Sadly, the Grahamstown Pottery closed many years ago. Even then trucks carrying enormous bags of kaolin used to grind their way up the hill en route to Gauteng, where it is used both for the ceramic industry and as a composite in the manufacture of paper. At one time this area produced over half of the kaolin required for these industries.
A relic of a past industry that provided local employment is this clay brick – photographed in Port Alfred, although some of the older homes in Grahamstown still sport these on garden paths or verandas. It points to a time when the area was more self-sufficient because there were no alternatives.
This is a nod to the past: