The 1820 Settlers National Monument, which honours the contribution to South African society made by the first big influx of English settlers, overlooks Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape. A living monument, it commemorates the English language as much as the Settlers themselves. It is a venue for performances of many types.
The Monument is closely linked with the National Arts Festival, often known simply as the Grahamstown Festival. Ever since the monument's opening on 13 July 1974, the festival has been held there every year, except for in 1975. Virtually all possible venues in Grahamstown are used during the festival, but the Monument is the anchor of the event and the biggest venue too.
The monument was devastated by a fire in 1994 and rebuilt and was officially re-dedicated by Nelson Mandela in May 1996.