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

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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2 years ago

"Even at the start of the postwar era, preservation still struck many as an eccentric, even reactionary hobby—a cause endorsed, in the words of the early New York preservationist Harmon Goldstone, ... See more

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City of Cape Town unveils Enoch Sontonga exhibition at City Hall.


2 years ago

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The state of our cemeteries.

2 years ago

More coverage of the collapse of JAG. #heritageindanger


2 years ago

"Aiming to preserve and document species of indigenous plant life that are being systematically erased from record through human activity, the Grootbos Florilegium is an ambitious and inspired story ... See more

2 years ago

End of Joburg's mining precinct?


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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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