In 1960 two decades of ruthless destruction began and hundreds of homes in Parktown were demolished to make way for some of the ugliest buildings in Africa. A determination to destroy this stronghold of “English Liberalism” meant properties were expropriated for massive government institutions.
The Trust was formed in 1985 to rally support for the heritage and combat public indifference by making the houses more accessible. We have put a stop to the process of demolition of old buildings for new developments, but the conservation task is nowhere near complete.
The Parktown and Westcliff Heritage Trust officially changed its name to the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation in 2012 in order to reflect more accurately the work done by the Parktown Westcliff Heritage Trust and the change in circumstances in Parktown and Westcliff over the last 27 years. The name change was voted for by an overwhelming majority of the members of the Parktown Westcliff Heritage Trust at the trust’s annual general meeting held at Emoyeni in Parktown on 14 July 2012.
The aims and objectives of the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation are to ensure that the valuable cultural heritage of Johannesburg is retained for future generations by:
- Increasing public awareness of that heritage by creating opportunities for people to become familiar with this heritage and its special significance.
- Identifying significant sites and areas and motivating the protection of such heritage through the application of the National Heritage Resources Act and measures in the town planning legislation.
- Restoring buildings, gardens, and sites, and marking them appropriately with heritage plaques.
- Offering tours and other activities for schools to ensure that learners get to know their city and take pride in their heritage.
- Researching and publishing, both in print and online, information on many aspects of Johannesburg’s heritage.
This is a voluntery organisation run by the members who meet annually and elect a Board of Management. The Board controls all the activities of the Foundation Tours, Publications, Research Resources and Tours for Schools, Training our Tour Leaders and Fund Raising.
Our City’s built heritage resources are precious, non-renewable, finite and irreplaceable. Through its core activities of Tours, Research, Education, Conservation and Activism, the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation aims to protect our rich and varied heritage of Johannesburg and its associated social history, for the use and enjoyment of both current and future generations.
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