Property owners and developers are underestimating the immense heritage and financial potential which South Africa’s historic buildings hold, and are mistakenly viewing them as an eyesore or hindrance which needs demolishing, heritage experts warn.
A week-long campaign in the run-up to Heritage Day has engaged developers, historians, architects and the public in a bid to drive awareness and appreciation for what is being done to preserve rare heritage buildings, as well as for what is termed “intangible cultural heritage” – looking beyond what can be seen and appreciating the history and cultural relevance of certain sites.
The Itheko: Celebrating Heritage campaign was initiated by the SA Institute of Architects (SAIA) Eastern Cape in conjunction with the Mandela Bay Heritage Trust and included evening seminars featuring heritage experts from academia and the private sector.
A bus tour through Nelson Mandela Bay on Thursday saw historians, architects and members of the public explore the city’s historical node of Central – starting with the Scottish Cemetery in St George’s Park – before heading to other sites, including that of the demolished Seaview Hotel via Bethelsdorp.
Architect and heritage practitioner Bryan Wintermeyer, one of the executives in the Port Elizabeth office of SVA International and a SAIA and Heritage Trust member, spoke during the tour.
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