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
Johannesburg In Your Pocket City Guide

Concerns about Chancellor House.

As head closer to Freedom Day we want to bring attention to the extremely neglectful state of Chancellor House, Nelson Mandela’s first office as a young lawyer in Johannesburg. An outdoor museum ... See more

4 months ago
Walking through Kalk Bay’s history

"The first outsiders to arrive were Muslim slaves from Indonesia and Malaysia who were brought to the Cape by the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century. Following them were deserters from ... See more

Artist and teacher Traci Kwaai tells the stories of the fishing community that has inhabited the area for generations, focusing on a history that is otherwise whitewashed.

4 months ago
This war graves report shows Britain must face its colonial past with honesty | David Lammy

".... hundreds of thousands of Black and Brown soldiers who died for Britain were not given the graves, memorials or commemoration that they ... See more

Hundreds of thousands of soldiers who died for Britain went unremembered, simply because of their race, says David Lammy MP

4 months ago
Timeline Photos

Last night saw the launch of the online Camissa Museum at the Castle of Good Hope. The site is now live. #camissamuseum


4 months ago
LOSING OUR MEMORY: Our national liberation icon is in danger: An appeal to save Liliesleaf

"... there is a real danger that we are losing our ... See more

It is crucial that the history of our liberation struggle should never be forgotten. Yet there is a real danger that we are losing our memory. The funding crisis exacerbated by Covid-19 is increasing ... See more

4 months ago
JONATHAN JANSEN | It’s easy to wail over burnt libraries when there’s no-one to blame

"I did not see the same deep angst about the torching of the UKZN law library... when campus and country “lost priceless material, including rare books dating back to the foundations of modern-day ... See more

Jonathan Jansen asks: 'Where was this heartfelt lament when UCT students set 23 works of fine art on fire in the middle of the campus?'

4 months ago
Smuts Hall


Beyond the call of duty

Warden: Prof Kelly Chibale
Subwardens: Siyabulela Ntuntwana, Kealeboga Keretetse & Tafara M'kombe
Volunteers: Kalaba Chibale, Dean Gibson & Brandon Badenhorst

We pay ... See more

4 months ago
No to benches to memorialise forced removals from Simonstown - The Daily Vox

"The entirety of spatial planning of that era is a memorial to Apartheid. So putting six bences [sic] in a town square dedicated to the British crown makes no sense."

... See more

Ling Shepherd visited Simonstown to see a new set of benches commissioned to commemorate the forced removal of Black and Coloured people from the area in 1967.  I visited Simonstown to see the ... See more

4 months ago
Recognising the loss of the Jagger Reading Room

What was lost in the fire.


VC Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng writes to the UCT community about the loss of the Jagger Reading Room in Sunday's fire.

4 months ago
Robben Island decay: 'You are tampering with the legacy of Nelson Mandela

"...those decaying structures are our heritage, and once you tamper with the heritage, it means you are tampering with the legacy of Nelson Mandela, the legacy of Sisulu, and all political ... See more

Ex-Political Prisoner Association of South Africa's Mpho Masemola says claims of mismanagement on the island must be probed.

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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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