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
World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize

"WMF launched the biennial World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize with founding sponsor Knoll Inc. in 2008 to raise awareness about preservation success stories in buildings that are emblematic ... See more

With the support of founding sponsor Knoll, WMF launched the World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize in 2008 to celebrate preservation success stories in buildings that are emblematic of the ... See more

5 months ago
World Monuments Fund

World Monuments Fund (WMF) is deeply saddened by reports of destruction caused by the wildfire that engulfed Table Mountain, including devastating damage to Mostert’s Mill—South Africa’s oldest ... See more

5 months ago
Scholars mourn thousands of antiquities lost in Cape Town fire | The Citizen

"With African knowledge having been “devalued for years, for centuries” the library also offered a “symbolic” space beyond its practical ... See more

The more than 85,000 books and 3000 films of the UCT African studies section of the 1930s library were renowned across the continent and beyond.

5 months ago
Centre for Curating the Archive

The Bleek and Lloyd collection is believed to be safe!

A message from Professor Pippa Skotnes:

Bleek and Lloyd saved!

I just got the wonderful news that while there is a lot of water damage in the basement BC 151 is intact and safe!

I know you will ... See more

5 months ago
TAKE A LOOK | Amazon to set up new head office in SA - as developer wins fight over contested land

"... concerns around the environmental impact of the development and the cultural significance of the Two Rivers Urban Park area, led to over 400 ... See more

The River Club Development in Cape Town has been given the go-ahead following years of legal challenges.

5 months ago
Survey shows billions lost in investment due to erratic Heritage application processes – Property Wheel

"Investors and built environment professionals in the private and public sectors are extremely frustrated by the drawn-out and increasingly vague processes being encountered with Heritage ... See more

News Survey shows billions lost in investment due to erratic Heritage application processes 30 Mar 2021by PropertyWheel_G5 min read Deon van Zyl, Chairperson of the Western Cape Property Development ... See more

5 months ago
Docomomo SA

Modernist legacies of Durban.

The Ocean Terminal, located at the Port of Durban in the Point precinct of central Durban, was designed by Janusc Warunkiewicz, a polish architect at M. S. Zakrzewski and Partners Consulting ... See more

5 months ago
The Mandela House museum mess

"It has been reported that the museum is in debt and its assets may be sold to pay debtors." ... See more

Nelson Mandela’s former home on Vilakazi Street is in liquidation, drawing harsh criticism from Soweto Tourism and the sidelined trustees of the original Soweto Heritage Trust.

5 months ago
OPINIONISTA: Mother City fire: UCT’s intellectual heart ripped out after Jagger Library burns

"This library contained key collections reflecting South Africa’s history, such as the Jack and Ray Simons Collection, the Black Sash Collection and the Richard Rive Collection..." ... See more

The Jagger Reading Room has been devastated and some of its most precious and irreplaceable intellectual content has been lost. The heart of any university is the library – it is the centre for ... See more

5 months ago

LIBRARY FIRE and the Bleek and Lloyd Collection

A message from Professor Pippa Skotnes
I have received dozens of messages of concern, shock and support from scholars around the world who are ... 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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