A wonderful Bananagram challenge to keep busy during Lockdown has turned into a moving video tribute to South Africa.

Professor Jean Greyling, from Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, was inspired to start his Bananagram challenge when his daughter, who owns ckreate Illustration and Photography, challenged her friends to do something creative each day, based on a daily topic.

“I am no artist,” says Prof Greyling, “so I decided to use my Bananagram blocks to take up the challenge.” (Bananagrams is an “anagram game that will drive you bananas” with lettered tiles.)


When one of the themes for the day was ‘South Africa’, Prof Greyling had such fun putting it together, he then spent the entire month of April posting new Bananagram creations each day representing a place in South Africa or an event from the nation’s history like the Rugby World Cup.

The letters for KZN’s Valley of a Thousand Hills are arranged to look like rolling hills, Robben Island appears like the bars of a jail cell. And Tulbagh appears as blocks falling, referencing the famous 1969 earthquake.

The day after each post, Prof Greyling posted a photo of the place or event with some interesting facts about it, hashtagging #Get2KnowSA.

And in the end… he was moved to create a video, combining all his posts into a music video using the Karen Zoid and Snotkop song “Dis ‘n Land”. Watch the celebration of South Africa below.

“This project reminded me that we have a beautiful country with a rich (sometimes painful) past,” he says. “We overcame so many challenges!”

WATCH Bananagram Tribute to South Africa (to the music of Karen Zoid and Snotkop)

The English translation of the chorus is:

“It’s a country…
of colours and sounds;
of abundance and thanks;
we all strive for;
without horizon;
that knows it can,
create a home for me.”