Heritage SA Symposium 2011.
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HERITAGE S A NATIONAL SYMPOSIUM – JOHANNESBURG 2011
REPORT BY THE SYMPOSIUM COORDINATOR
Although some weeks has passed since the Heritage S A Symposium in Johannesburg, the reverberations are still being felt.
We were pleased to have many members of the public (not members of heritage bodies) who attended the functions and who, as a result, have asked to become members of the Egoli Heritage Foundation.
By all accounts, the weekend was thoroughly enjoyed: See the comments below that say it all –
“I am delighted to see the Egoli Heritage Forum host such a fabulous conference. The precision, the organizational skills were spot on. I came away enthused and excited by the prospects we face. I would like to thank you and your team for a most wonderful conference.” Alan Montgomery
“Just a short note to thank you for a wonderful weekend. This is the first time that both Eleanor and I have attended such a symposium and we both found it stimulating. It was extremely well run. Congratulations”. Brent Ferguson
“Dear Liz & Herbert
A belated but very sincere thank you for the wonderful heritage symposium you organised earlier this month. The programme was excellent with wonderful speakers. As I mentioned to you, I am very sorry that I could not attend the full symposium due to work pressure, but the fact that one could attend only certain sections of the symposium was truly an excellent idea. We all thoroughly enjoyed the evening at the Rand Club while Abel and I found the Saturday proceedings absolutely wonderful. The presentations and the outings to Soweto and the Constitutional Court were superb and, what a treat to meet Archbishop Tutu!
I would also like to congratulate you on the excellent organisation of the event. I think everybody appreciated the hard work it took to successfully arrange such an event, including all the transport arrangements. Truly an excellent job – thank you once again.”
Letitia T Myburgh
(incorp. Archives & Historical Services)
Standard Bank Gallery
“Herbert, the symposium was excellent. You and your team showed off the best of Johannesburg – so much so that these hardened Capetonians have been won over completely by a city that is vibrant and exciting and, I think, leading the way in modern heritage architecture. By having the meetings and gatherings in such illustrious places as Villa Arcadia and Northwards, you brought home to us the romance – not to mention the wealth and influence – of the Randlords. The unforgettable talk on Dale Lace really made the era come alive. Then on Friday we were exposed to the modern Randlords at Anglo at 55 Marshall Street and the Anglo-Gold Ashanti Gold’s head office in the Turbine Hall leaving no doubt as to the wealth and possibilities of the Golden City. Although all our cities are grappling with regeneration and much has still to be done, it was encouraging to see the imaginative and innovative way Central Johannesburg is going about it.
The presentations were superb. Listening to young people getting enthusiastic about heritage is a rare sight indeed! Our only complaint -Phil Bonner and Luli Callinicos’ talks were way too short!
For me, the Constitutional Court was a highlight especially having the privilege of Justice Kriegler himself addressing us about the meaning of this court and its symbols. This was fabulous.
And then there was the Rand Club – a perfect setting for the gala dinner. I had never been there so I was blown away by this lovely space. We both enjoyed the formality (not too formal, but just enough) of the dinner and hope to continue with that trend next year. It was a wonderful evening.
A very big thank you to Liz who made such perfect arrangements and paid so much attention to detail. She he is a hard act to follow and we may need her advice next year!”
Len and Cathy Raymond
One of the surprises and highlights of our Friday morning in the 18th floor auditorium of Anglo’s 55 Marshall Street, was the presentation by ListJoburg.
This is the preamble from the website http://wiki.up.ac.za/index.php/ListJoburg
“The ListJoburg project will document (building on the Bruwer Survey), photograph and rate the buildings of Johannesburg in terms of their cultural significance. The project has been commissioned by the Parktown and Westcliff Heritage Trust and the Heritage Department of the City of Johannesburg. The information generated by the project will be of value to developers, architects, activists, historians, affected communities and a whole host of other professions and interest groups. It is hoped that the project will improve the balance between heritage and development and promote a greater awareness of Johannesburg’s urban environment.
A volunteer committee has been assembled to begin the listing process and will use its experience and diversity to achieve consensus on the cultural significance of a precinct or building. It is hoped that this work will act as a catalyst for the people of Johannesburg and South Africa to add to the knowledge and appreciation of our built environment.
The vision of the ListJoburg project is to make the Heritage Battle extinct. “
In fact the ListJoburg website is able to list buildings anywhere in South Africa and, as we heard at the symposium, anywhere in the world.
Feedback from delegates was that they were delighted with the enthusiasm of the young people involved in this creative initiative.
During the presentations by Affiliated members, the Chairman noted the recommendations that were made in response to questions and they are listed below:
SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS THAT CAME OUT OF THE PRESENTATIONS BY AFFILIATED BODIES AT 55 MARSHALL STREET ON FRIDAY 14 OCTOBER 2011
1. IDENTIFY THE AREA/ITEMS THAT YOU WANT TO PROTECT
1.1 Lodge this with Provincial Authority in Gauteng and lodge with the Department of Arts and Culture.
1.2 Owners must be made aware of the listing;
1.3 Fight for it, but you will lose some.
1.4 Don’t give up!
1.5 Excellent example was the identification of properties in Main Road, Paarl.
2. TRY AND DETERMINE SUSTAINABILITY OF THE SITE
2.1 Stable sponsor;
2.2 Restore property;
2.3 Engage and promote community interest in the property;
2.4 Try and be inclusive in promoting the building, owners, architects, site in relation to area, etc;
2.5 Excellent example is the Tokai Manor House
3. ATTRACTON OF YOUNGER MEMBERS
3.1 The interest of younger members in the Symposium was encouraging;
3.2 Interest to be stimulated by focusing on those ding history or architecture, or involved in a specific project that affects them;
3.3 Involve Facebook (no cost), Twitter e.g. Potchefstroom House.
4. DOCUMENT THE PROCESS TO BE FOLLOWED IN PROTESTING
4.1 Summarise rights in terms of Heritage Resources Act;
4.2 60 Year Rule (Section 34);
4.3 Supervisory authority i.e. Municipal, Provincial National;
4.4 Involvement of local population / press / parliamentarians;
4.5 Recourse to the Police – they often won’t accept charges;
4.6 Protest action;
4.7 Check if already on a protected list;
4.8 Attract sponsors.
5. INTENSIFYING PUBLIC INTEREST
5.1 The Act has no reference to disseminating information;
5.2 This type of information needs to be spread widely and few budgets exist;
5.3 Problems often happen in areas where business is declining e.g. in the Karoo where the cost of farming leaves littler room for preservation of non-productive assets e.g. abandoned houses and empty barns;
5.4 Improve knowledge levels to encourage appreciation of design, quality of timber;
5.5 More involvement by a National Trust.
6.0 PUBLICISING LOCAL INITIATIVES COUNTRY-WIDE
6.1 Many of the case studies given could easily be published country-wide – and should be;
6.2 We should look at “what keeps these smaller societies going”. There are so few of us that we could learn from each other.
ONWARD AND UPWARD
The Egoli Heritage Foundation had two goals.
The first was to have a successful symposium to showcase Johannesburg in a way that had never been done before. For me the most moving comment was from Mary Anne Botha of Prince Albert who said “Gerald Garner’s talk made me want to come back”. Our first goal was definitely achieved.
Our second goal (and this is a big one) is to give support to Gerald Garner’s vision for Johannesburg’s inner city as a place where people will come to live, send their children to school, play sports – a beautiful, treed city with pedestrianised areas – a safe city, with clinics, thriving businesses – a truly world class city, where people will want to live and visit.
The Egoli Heritage Foundation plans to be more pro-active; to grow its membership and to be an agent for positive change, through the conservation of heritage in Gauteng and further afield.
Hosting this symposium was a privilege for us, and it has given us the impetus to go on to do bigger and better things.
Egoli Project Coordinator