We see a South Africa that celebrates and protects its interwoven past to the betterment of all our people.


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Who we are

The Heritage Association of South Africa is the voice of conservation bodies from around the country dedicated to conserving the national estate. With our roots in the Simon van der Stel Foundation, we are the largest and oldest conservation lobby group in South Africa. While the Simon van der Stel Foundation originally focused on the conservation of historic, colonial architecture, we’ve grown our focus over the past three decades to include cultural heritage in all its diverse forms and from across the country’s diverse communities.

An endangered heritage

South Africa has a rich and diverse cultural heritage spanning millennia. However, two decades after the enactment of the National Heritage Resources Act (Act 25 of 1999), heritage conservation is languishing in a deeply compromised state. The South African Heritage Resources Agency has faced consecutive leadership crises, with only KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape having a semblance of coherent provincial policy and institutional capacities in place, as envisaged in the Act, while not a single municipality has the mandated competency to manage local heritage. Various other provisions of the Act have similarly not been fulfilled. These are some of the challenges that the Heritage Association of South Africa seeks to overcome.

Our mission

To be a respected and independent voice advocating for the research, promotion and conservation of the national estate.

What we do

The Heritage Association of South Africa carries out a number of roles and functions:

It provides forums and other means of communication to share information and knowledge.

It represents and advocates on behalf of our associates at a national level.


Celebrating the diverse heritage of Western Cape schools

Rondebosch Boys’ High, Rondebosch, Cape Town Blue plaques in South Africa date back to roughly 40 years ago when the first plaques were installed by the then Witwatersrand branch of the Simon Van der Stel Foundation (today the Heritage Association of South Africa)....

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Call for nominations for the 2021 Simon van der Stel Awards

The National Council of the Heritage Association of South Africa has for many years rewarded individuals and organisations who have given unstintingly of their time and expertise to conserve South Africa’s heritage resources and who, in the words of the preamble to...

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HASA to hold its annual symposium in Swellendam this year

After the disappointment of having to cancel the annual symposium last year because of COVID-19, The Heritage Association of South Africa is pleased to announce it will be holding its symposium from Thursday 14 to Sunday 17 October 2021 in the beautiful and historic...

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4 months ago
Succulent smuggling: why are South Africa’s rare desert plants vanishing?

"In Van Wyk’s estimation, plant poaching might be more lucrative than the country’s rhino horn ... See more

Unique species in ‘the world’s most biodiverse desert’ are at risk from a warming planet and the lucrative plant poaching trade

4 months ago
An abandoned legacy: Homes of SA’s political activists left to rot

"Are South Africans neglecting their country's history?" #endangeredheritage


Eyewitness News visited the homes of prominent historical figures in South Africa’s journey to democracy and discovered that some of the buildings had been allowed to fall into ruin. Are South ... See more

4 months ago

"Barring small, niche subject libraries, it’s rare for a library to plan to digitise the entirety of its holdings. There are precious few libraries in the world with sufficient staff and funding to ... See more

4 months ago
World Monuments Fund

Submit nominations now.

📣 Only 2 days left to nominate a site to the 2022 World Monuments Watch! Nominations close May 1. The 2022 Watch aims to highlight innovative approaches from heritage places to the global ... See more

4 months ago
City of Tshwane wants control over the Women's Living Heritage Monument - SABC News - Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader.

"The monument remains closed, four years after its launch. The delays were due to disputes between appointed service providers and sub-contractors. The multi-million rand facility was also declared a ... See more

The City of Tshwane says it wants to take control of the neglected Women's Living Heritage Monument at Lillian Ngoyi Square in Pretoria.

4 months ago
OPINIONISTA: Devastating UCT inferno has exposed the university’s managerial governance shortcomings

"But the university has failed us. The outstanding jewel in the crown of the university’s intellectual treasury went up in smoke, in a fire that surely could have been prevented or contained with ... See more

So many questions: Did UCT have a fire management plan, and why weren’t the pine trees cleared? Had any kind of fire risk assessment been done? Were there sprinklers on roofs? Had anyone realised ... See more

4 months ago
Oldest evidence of human activity unearthed in African cave

“I can’t think of any other site I know of, certainly not in Sub-Saharan Africa, that has a complete sequence of two million years of human ... See more

The cave had been occupied for nearly two million years up until the early 1900s — intriguing researchers about its value

4 months ago
OP-ED: Honouring the librarians and archivists who built UCT’s now-devastated African Studies Library

"The collection represented the dedication of generations of remarkable librarians and archivists, helped by generous benefactors. Together, they had built what was probably the continent’s premier ... See more

The fire that ripped across Table Mountain on Sunday 18 April 2021, devastated UCT’s Jagger Reading Room and African Studies Collection. The collection represented the dedication of generations of ... See more

4 months ago
’This land is sacred’: Cape Town authorities slammed for approving River Club development

Cape Town authorities slammed for approving River Club development. ... See more

’What they propose is to take this sacred ground and to turn it into a development for some new liberal capitalists from across the seas, with friends and allies in this country. We will not let ... See more

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Why Heritage?


The Constitution enshrines the right to a healthy and protected environment. Everyone has the right to have the environment protected through, among others, the promotion of heritage conservation. 

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