HERITAGE ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH AFRICA (HASA)
GENADENDAL 20 OCTOBER 2016
The last AGM was held in 2015 in Clanwilliam, an excellent venue, well organised with a really great dinners, interesting people, many new faces, with a gold medal to the Coetzee’s of Calvinia and a gold certificate to E Crags, for their excellent work and service to heritage.
The committee held a number of Skype meetings and we are getting better at this form of communication. Jacques, thanks for your organising ability, tying us all up for these electronic discussions.
HASA relies heavily upon the efforts of Carol Podd, to whom a special vote of appreciation is due. Carol has this year shouldered the additional burden of this symposium, apart from taking care of the website and her involvement in the financial process.
Jacques Stoltz is our key to the future on social media, prizes, and web page support. His liaison with the Heritage portal has been of great value to the organisation.
Jayson Clark, a student of heritage with a keen mind, has been very occupied with his degree, but shares the financial responsibility with Carol, while Chris is responsible for control. I trust that we will be able to call upon him more in the future.
Herbert Prins is chair of the awards committee and, as always, is a valued contributor to any debate. He finds it difficult to travel owing to his poor health. We wish him well and long may his pearls of wisdom continue to support us. We are relying on Mira to take over Herbert’s role.
Beverley Ann Small is a keen and energetic member of the committee. We have used her talents more this year, but I am sure she has much more to give. We will be looking to her if our ambition to hold the symposium in the north is realised next year. Give them hell, Bev.
Judy Maguire, another clear head with a lifelong commitment to heritage, serves on the awards committee, is somewhat hamstrung by the lack of electronic connection on the farm, but this has just improved and we need to utilise her expertise more now that she will be more accessible.
Chris Young, as vice Chair and 3rd member of the awards committee, can be called upon when necessary.
Julie Streicher has messed in, as always, when required. I value her insight and effort.
As concerns this year’s events:
The plaque for Clanwilliam has not been fixed as there are positional problems that need to be resolved. The plaque is ready and will be fitted when Ilse returns from holiday.
Statues will become a focal point again, with the application to remove the Rhodes statue to be heard on 30 October at Heritage Western Cape’s B.E.L. Com. We must think carefully about the steps that we could be called upon to take. As predicted statues have led the way into serious political issues around students and fees. It is possible that we may need to revise our attitude.
The various white papers on heritage, held by the national department, SAHRA and the Western Cape Government have as yet produced no tangible result or alteration in the various acts, as promised.
Following on my report last year in respect of the various Khoi groupings that attended these white paper discussions, we stuck our neck out and are today in Genadendal in a sincere effort to confront the racial divides in heritage. It has not been an easy path and I cannot predict the outcome or success of this symposium, but very special thanks are due to Carol, especially, and Julie for their efforts to pull this off. Running a symposium away from home is not advised. I trust that all parties will come to realise that our intentions are purely to widen heritage understanding and I urge all members to accept the standards as offered, as we are visitors in a strange town with different customs, all the inhabitants of which have not supported this effort, noticeably the museum.
The 10 most threatened sites is a great campaign for which we have Jacques to thank. We need to follow these up and report regularly.
Concerning Jacques and our social media communication: I am aware that this skill is beyond me, but I believe that we are making strides here. Jacques has control of this, about which we oldies are very relieved.
The awards committee had a number of nominations and we must of necessity revisit the criteria regularly. Gold medals were awarded to Dr Isaac Balie and Twin Mosia; a gold certificate was awarded to the Fietas museum; and a merit certificate to Salma Patel. I believe this year is the first year when people of colour were awarded these Simon van der Stel awards. It is about time that this has occurred and we need to thank the nominators for identifying such excellent candidates. These nominations are sure proof that through our website we are reaching a wider audience. Jacques needs more support in the form of articles and contributions to keep this tool in working order.
We are still struggling to attract more conservation bodies around the country. Some of the reasons given for non-affiliation are personal, others unexplained. We need to appoint a member to personally contact as many bodies as possible to ensure that heritage does not become totally fragmented. Many organisations still cling to their personal property and are suspicious of our intentions.
I can report that as at 1 October the Reserve fund had a balance of R606 450.50. The income from this is not able to fund an organisation like this, especially when it is all consumed in the symposium and awards. I must record a vote of thanks to Historic Homes for their contribution to the travelling costs of those collecting their awards. I would like to ask both Salma, her museum, and Twin to acknowledge their support.
We, at this stage, are not sure of the financial situation of this event and we will need to approve any necessary expenditure.
We were looking at a riskier type of investment previously. We need to constantly keep this on the agenda to protect the real value of our capital.
We have a responsibility, as successor in title to the Simon van der Stel Foundation, in respect of various properties, which we must bring to a conclusion. I have specially invited some of the former senior role players to attend to ensure that all conservation bodies that formed part of the foundation are represented. We must reach decisions as required, when requested. We have had no specific response from Potchefstroom or Cape Town, while reports from Pretoria are not encouraging.
It is with pleasure that I inform you that Ralph Annas from Drakenstein has been appointed to the council of HWC. He has booked to attend this event. His advice should be sought in respect of the statues.
I would like to think that we could identify an appropriate event or person to erect a plaque in Genadendal.
We have not progressed on the standardisation of local awards which we all wish to encourage.
What with a symposium without a local host, it has been a very busy and frustrating year – which may well still be remembered as my folly, yet the year has been very pleasant because I was supported by a willing, able and pleasant committee, all of whom have been committed to advancing our interests.
I thank the committee for their support and understanding. I did commit myself for a year which is long gone and I stressed the need to find a replacement as soon as possible. I cannot guarantee for how long I will be available and would welcome a successor as I believe that some of our problems are personality issues.
Thank you for the opportunity to be of service to heritage.
Chairman, Heritage Association of South Africa