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


Learn more about the COVID-19 pandemic and get daily updates at:



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.


The student’s guide to studying heritage in South Africa

By Jacques Stoltz & Tammy Stewart Thinking about pursuing further studies in the heritage sector? We’ve got you covered. Below are some of the programmes on offer at the country’s major institutions. If we’ve missed something, let us know and we will update the...

read more



3 weeks ago
Alarm as exploratory drilling for oil begins in northern Namibia

"On December 21, Reconnaissance Energy Africa (Recon Africa) announced that it had begun exploratory drilling for oil and gas in the Namibian portion of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation ... See more

On December 21, Reconnaissance Energy Africa (Recon Africa) announced that it had begun exploratory drilling for oil and gas in the Namibian portion of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation ... See more

1 month ago
Why Just 'Adding Context' to Controversial Monuments May Not Change Minds

"Scientists have identified a bias toward looking for, trusting and remembering information that fits in with our existing world view. Conversely, we tend to ignore or discount information that calls ... See more

Research shows that visitors often ignore information that conflicts with what they already believe about history

1 month ago
French Government Votes in Favour of Returning Looted African Artefacts

"France has admitted to hoarding over 300 000 artefacts from around the world, about a third of which belong to Sub-Saharan Africa." ... See more

The decision by the French government will see a Dahomey throne returned to Benin and a prized sword returned to Senegal, among several other artefacts.

1 month ago
Ivory: Elephant decline revealed by shipwreck cargo

"The tusks were so well preserved - in cold water off the Namibian coast - that scientists were even able to find out what type of diet the elephants had, which revealed where they had lived and been ... See more

A forensic examination of the cargo reveals the devastation of populations caused by the trade.

1 month ago
Maverick Citizen Op-Ed: How civil society is stepping in when small-town Karoo municipalities fail

The importance of civil society when local government fails. ... See more

Poor local government service delivery characterises South Africa’s rural landscape. This bedevils water provision, sanitation, environmental health and waste management. These problems make the ... See more

1 month ago
OP-ED: Amazon in Africa: A walk through history in the Two Rivers Urban Park

"Should this development go ahead a significant part of the historical floodplain would be covered with high-density development, even though it is protected as an environmentally sensitive ... See more

Developers want to turn the River Club site between the Liesbeek and Black rivers in Cape Town’s Observatory into Amazon’s African headquarters. A significant part of the historical floodplain ... See more

1 month ago
Nearly half of South Africa’s Protea species on the brink of extinction - The Mail & Guardian

"637 of the 1464 known species are vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered."


Loss of habitat to agriculture, the spread of invasive species and changes to natural fire cycles are biggest culprits

1 month ago
Desert diamond: The Oppenheimer's Mauritzfontein stud farm is a garden oasis in the Karoo

"While it inevitably had a European-inflected aesthetic, the garden remains a pioneering example of South African gardening history, including rockeries and a succulent garden way ahead of their ... See more

A lavish new book details the reinvigoration of a landmark Karoo garden you’ll wish you were in right now

1 month ago
Timeline Photos

"This book follows the chronology of his work... from a fascination with African indigenous settlements, including his documentation, publication and exhibition of Ndebele art and architecture, and ... See more

1 month ago

Urgent appeal from the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation:

Please help save Museum Africa’s invaluable collections by notifying your Councillors and any press or media people you know of what is ... See more

« 3 of 7 »

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. 

Subscribe to our newsletter

Submit your information below to subscribe to our monthly newsletter


Postnet Suite #63, Private Bag X7, Parkview, 2122

Email Us