The awards celebrate outstanding national achievements in heritage conservation at the culmination of the Heritage Association of South Africa’s annual symposium.
The association has been at the forefront of efforts to protect the living heritage, culture and traditions of the Bo-Kaap in central Cape Town. They did this within the context of growing gentrification which posed a threat to their area.
According to the adjudication committee, the group works in the belief that residents have the right to have a say in developments affecting the area. Towards this end the group spearheads the “Bridges not Barriers” campaign to resist inappropriate and insensitive development. The association also contributes to a wider dialogue around the kind of city residents want to live in. Among others, the association exerted pressure that contributed towards the finalisation of a Bo-Kaap heritage protection overlay zone. It has also secured commitments from national government to have 19 national heritage sites declared. In April this year, these sites were formally gazetted by the SA Heritage Resources Agency.
The members of the organisation are all volunteers and have given countless hours to public campaigns to protect the unique heritage, culture and traditions that is the Bo-Kaap. Furthermore, the organisation does not hesitate to turn to the courts.