Symposium Speakers – Graaff Reniet



Graaff Reniet 2010 – Liz Buisman

Brian (Bugs) Wilmot has a B.Sc. (Honours) degree in Entomology. He joined the staff of the Albany Museum in 1972, and in 1977 became  the director. In 1993 he moved to Cape Town to take up an appointment as Director of Museums for the Cape Province. In his museum career Brian played an active role in affairs at a national level, including being involved in the early 1990’s in multi-party negotiations for the restructuring of the country’s museum services and twice serving as President of the South African Museums Association.

In 1995 Brian returned to Grahamstown to launch the National Science Festival, popularly known as SciFest Africa. After 12 annual festivals attracting 60 000 visitors each year and developing a range of outreach programmes Brian retired in August 2008. In September 2008 he took up appointment as Curator of the Schreiner House Museum in Cradock. In his career Brian has presented 35 conference papers and has published more than 30 research papers, including definitive works on professional museum standards and the systematics of Southern African dragonflies. Brian’s email address is

Malusi Mveke has lived in Graaff -Reinet all his life. He is a deacon and lay minister at St Philip’s Anglican Church in Umasizakhe. He has worked for the Legal Aid Board and at the Veronica Sobukwe Old Age Home. He knows his community well and feels strongly about developing the people’s potential. His telephone number is 0839523821.

Roy Stauth has a PhD from UCT in Environmental Science, with an emphasis on the “economics of conservation”. He was one of the first “environmental economists” in South Africa, and was involved in a large number of environmental evaluation projects all over the country. His PhD topic was concerned with developing a cost-benefit framework for any project that would take account of the value of “public goods” (i.e., those goods which cannot be valued in the market place), then judging the fairness of the distribution of costs and benefits within the affected society, and evaluating the public goods involved from the point of view of future generations. He was a senior lecturer and research officer at UCT for four years, dealing with the sustainable management of both the natural and the built environment. Since moving to Graaff-Reinet four years ago, Roy has served on the committees of the Heritage Society, the Publicity Association, the John Rupert Theatre, the Environmental Working Group, and the Oral Heritage project of the Museum. His email address is

Anziske Keyster came from the Western Cape in 1997 to work in the Graaff-Reinet Museum. In 2008 she was appointed Head of the museum. She has received accolades for her work including recognition for outstanding work in promoting transformation in the museum from the Department of Arts and Culture. In 2008 she was awarded a M.Phil (Cultural Tourism and Heritage Studies) by the University of Stellenbosch. The title of her thesis was Re-imagining Sobukwe from political figure to heritage product and tourist attraction. Anziske’s email address is

Elwyn Harlech-Jones is an architect and artist living and practising in Steytlerville. He has been a lecturer and external examiner at the School of Architecture at the NMMU. Elwyn has presented numerous papers at international conferences in South Africa, India and the United Kingdom. These were published as conference papers, related to architectural conservation and the development of cultural diversity. In 2009 he was selected to exhibit selected art works featuring the informal settlements of the Red Location, Port Elizabeth at the Architects as artists exhibition curated by the Cape Institute for Architects in Cape Town. In 2010 he held a retrospective art exhibition at Ron Belling Gallery, Port Elizabeth. Some of his paintings are on display at St James church Hall. Restoration of buildings on neighbouring Karoo farms and projects related to local heritage forms a large part of his current practice. Elwyn’s email address is

Nanziwe Vena’s roots are in Umasizakhe although she left here after primary school. She completed her schooling in the Transkei and began to study business in Alice. Her involvement in the organisation for Steve Biko’s funeral meant leaving SA for Lesotho where she completed her studies and worked underground an an activist. She had her own businesses in Cape Town and East London. On a smallholding near Stutterheim she established a knitting and sewing project and while she was there she felt a strong calling to come to her ancestral home in Graaff-Reinet where her grandmother had lived. Here she has developed the Mzimhlophe African Restaurant. She is an events’ organiser, a designer and a seamstress. Her telephone number is 0829730837.

Doreen Atkinson is the director of the Research Cluster for Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction at the University of the Free State, Visiting Professor at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER),Rhodes University and a trustee of the Karoo Development Foundation (KDF). She is also the Research Manager of the Heartland and Karoo Institute, Philippolis, Free State.

She has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Natal. Among her areas of research expertise are Local Economic Development, small towns and rural development, and sustainable livelihoods. Her current projects are: Development in the Karoo (for the National Research Foundation and the Open Society Foundation) and Tourism strategy for the Greater Karoo (Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State). Of her many published articles, a recent one in Development Southern Africa is “ Economic decline and gentrification in a small town: The business sector in Aberdeen, Eastern Cape.”

Doreen lives in Philippolis in the Free State. Her email address is

Noeleen Murray is a post-doctoral research fellow at the UWC centre for Humanities Research. This year she was awarded a doctorate in African Studies by UCT. The title of her thesis was Architectural modernism and apartheid modernity in South Africa – A critical inquiry into the work of architect and urban designer Roelof Uytenbogaardt, 1960-2009. She has a Masters degree in architecture and is part of Associate Design Matters Architects and Urban Consultants. Recently she has lectured in race, culture and identity, and in public culture for Africa, and she is at present the convenor of the  Curatorship Course, African Programme in Museum and Heritage Studies, UWC and Robben Island Museum. She was principal editor of  Desire Lines, Space, Memory and Identity in the Post-apartheid City.  She has been involved in practice in many heritage projects including Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum, the Tara Baru and Rustenburg Burial Grounds and the Luthuli and Nelson Mandela Museums. Since 2001 Noeleen has been an external examiner in M. Arch. for the University of the Witwatersrand. She has family connections with Graaff-Reinet and owns a house in the town. Her email address is

Jock McConnachie is a former English/History teacher turned advocate and somewhere in between he worked as the Eastern Cape Regional Representative of the National Monuments Council (the predecessor of SAHRA) where he was able to give expression to his passion for conservation of the built environment. He completed his LLB after a stint working as a property manager for Old Mutual Properties. A focus of his studies was Property & Environmental Law. His final year thesis entitled “Environmental Conservation in South Africa – Its Application to the Built Environment” was published in the S A Journal of Environmental Law & Policy Vol 5 No.1 of May 1998. A focus of the thesis was the National Heritage Bill, subsequently promulgated as the current National Heritage Resources Act No.25 of 1999. As a practising advocate since 1999, he has had extensive experience of the practical implementation of the current Act, especially at the provincial level, and can attest to the woeful state of affairs particularly in the Eastern Cape. Jock lives in Grahamstown. His email address is

Melanie Lytle is a professional architectural historian employed at URS Corporation in San Diego,California. She is a graduate student at Goucher College in the United States. As a teenager she lived in Durban and attended university in SA until 2000.  She is in South Africa conducting research for her master’s thesis topic, which is striving to answer the question: Can historic resource designation, as specified in the National Heritage Resources Act (No. 25 of 1999), contribute toward nation building and redress in the new democratic South Africa? Her email address is

Bethwell Ndudula was born in Graaff-Reinet. As there was then  no high school for blacks in Graaff-Reinet, he matriculated at Healdtown High School and went on to Fort Hare Uuniversity to do a BA and HDE. He taught at high schools in the former Ciskei until 2005 when he became deputy principal of Thembalisizwe Primary School in Umasizakhe. He is the chairman of the Umasizakhe Community Tourism Organisation and a member of the Ward 6 committee. He is passionate about the empowerment of unemployed youths and is chairman of the Umasizakhe Trust Fund which, he says, still needs to get off the ground. His telephone number is 0843709186.

Peter Whitlock is Graaff-Reinet’s heritage architect. He is the sole principal for Moffat Whitlock Architects CC. Some of his projects include the restoration and renovation of 2 Karoo Cottages in Victoria West and work on the restoration of the Battiss Museum, Somerset East. He is interested in vernacular architecture and from 1988 he has been documenting (measured drawing and photograph) 19th century farm buildings of the Graaff-Reinet region (Camdeboo / Sneeuberg). He has done archival research on the history of Graaff-Reinet farms with particular reference to their physical development. He was chairman of Graaff-Reinet Heritage Society from 1993 to 2006 and has been a member of the Aesthetics Committee of the Graaff-Reinet local authority from 1991 to the present. Peter is a trustee of the Graaff-Reinet Heritage Trust. He was an honorary curator of the National Monuments Council from 1991 to the abolition of the honorary curator system. In 1993 he was awarded the Cape Times Centenary Medal for Conservation, for the restoration of Urquhart House, Graaff-Reinet. Peter’s email address is

Maryke Stern has a M.Tech (Agriculture)from NMMU. She has worked in national parks, game lodges and on farms in Southern Africa and abroad. She is currently the manager for the Camdeboo & Karoo National Parks Working for Water Project which includes the conservation of biodiversity through the clearing of alien plants using small contracting BEE businesses. Her interests include Conservation Ecology, Wildlife Management, Animal Behaviour Science, Environmental Education, Natural Horsemanship and Conservation Farming. Maryke lives on a farm near Nieu Bethesda. Her email address is

John “ Zorb” Caryer is a 65-year-old retired business man who has lived in the Karoo for nearly 30 years. He is a qualified mechanical engineer with a master’s degree in medical engineering. He left the Johannesburg corporate world in 1982 to farm in the Karoo. During those years he was an active member of a small group of Eastern Cape farmers that lobbied the previous government for the deregulation of the Ostrich industry. When this was achieved in 1994, he came to Graaff-Reinet and was responsible for the building and managing of a successful export ostrich and game meat abattoir and factory. He is currently on various community boards including that of the tourism office and is the champion of a project to bring a new natural history museum to Graaff-Reinet. Zorb’s email address is

Judy Maguire, palaeontologist, archaeologist and amateur historian, spent her early years in the then province of Natal, part of it on the family farm deep in rural Zululand. These formative years endeared her to all aspects of the veld: its rocks, plants and animals, its space and freedom.

Her doctoral studies were focussed on the fossil bones associated with early hominins from the Makapan ValleyLimeworks World Heritage site in Limpopo. After a 15-year stint as a heritage consultant working mainly on World Heritage Sites, she focussed on the pre-colonial and settlement history of the Karoo, still a relatively unknown region of South Africa. After studying the external and internal factors causing the stagnation, decay or prosperity of some 50 small Karoo towns, an insight into the way in which these may impact on heritage assets, whether tangible or intangible, was obtained. The efficacy of national and local legislation and administration was also considered. The issues surrounding development and its impact on heritage will be the subject of her presentation at this symposium.

Judy lives in Prince Albert. Her email address is

Johan Minnaar grew up on the farm Letskraal in the mountains east of Graaff-Reinet. Having been surrounded by old buildings and antique furniture since his childhood, he successfully restored the home of Andries Pretorius on Letskraal. Johan is currently practising as an optometrist in Graaff-Reine He takes a keen interest in heritage issues. He is the chairperson of the Graaff-Reinet committee dealing with the Shell issue. Johan can be reached on 0498924114.

Len Raymond became interested in heritage and conservation in the late 70’s. He resigned as financial director of a tool making company and formed his company, Daljosaphat Restorations in 1980. He has been involved in restoration ever since. Len Raymond has been actively involved in the evaluation, planning and restoration of hundreds of heritage buildings, working together with architects like G.T.Fagan, D.Visser, R.Fox, J.Rennie, T Thorould, etc. and is considered an authority on the subject.

Len joined the committee of the local Simon van der Stel branch in 1980. Since then he has been chairman of the local Drakenstein Heritage Foundation many times and has served on the committee for over 30 years. He is the current chairman of Heritage SA and has served on the HSA chairman and committee member of SA Heritage for over 20 years.

He has served on Council of Heritage Western Cape and also the of this body. He is a Trustee of the Simon van der Stel Heritage Trust, the Mandela Bay Heritage Trust and the Mamre Community Heritage Trust. Apart from architectural heritage, his interests include Cape furniture, Cape silver, Chinese porcelain and SA art. Len’s email address is

More about Malusi Mveke. Malusi was a presenter on Radio Graaff-Reinet from 1994 to2001 and did courses in News and Editing and Radio Production. He has also done courses in HIV/AIDS, Business Law and Labour Relations. In 1998 he travelled to Boston as an ambassador for the E. Cape on a cultural exchange. In his church work he befriends the powerless, especially those poor and neglected. He is the Camdeboo Council of Churches Youth Co-ordinator, chairperson of the ABET Governing Council and chairperson of the Community Youth Development Forum.

Daantjie Japhta has been the mayor of the Camdeboo Municipality since 2000. Empowerdex rated his municipality the best in South Africa in 2009 and Camdeboo has had awards for clean audits for the last 4 years. Graaff-Reinet was voted “Dorp van die Jaar” in this year’s Rapport/Kwela competition. In 2009 an honorary doctorate was conferred on Dr Daantjie Japhta by Christ the King Theological Seminary in Florida, USA. He is a teacher by profession and is currently the principal of Narsingstraat Primary School. Apart from all his civic and professional duties, Daantjie is continually improving his qualifications. Presently he is studying for a B Ed through UNISA. In 2006 his contribution to cultural affairs was recognised by the Dept of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture and in 2008 he received a Cacadu District Special Museums and Heritage Award.

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