Golden Shield Heritage Awards

02We recognise the contribution of individuals, groups, or organisations/academic institutions that protect, preserve and promote the country’s heritage. The award recipients and the projects reflect best practice in promotion, preservation, conservation and/or interpretation of our heritage. Nominations are welcomed from all disciplines that have a direct bearing to how heritage is appreciated and preserved in the country.




Closing 29 August 2016, 15h00


Golden Shield Heritage Awards Nomination Form (PDF)

Golden Shield Heritage Awards Nomination Form (Word)


The National Heritage Council conceived the awards (Golden Shield National Heritage Awards) in 2012 as a way to acknowledge active citizenship that protects and promotes the country’s heritage. As the name of the awards suggests, these are the people who act as the shields against the obliteration of our cultural and natural heritage. It is important to acknowledge, thank and take pride in people who continuously contribute selflessly to the preservation, interpretation and promotion of South Africa’s rich cultural heritage.


The awards were motivated by the rationale that heritage has a significant role to play in promoting social cohesion and community development. Awards such as this one therefore give acknowledgement and expose the depth of the South African Heritage which is unique and diverse. This project takes a national character and is intended to be all-inclusive.


Since inception in 2012, the Golden Shield National Heritage Awards have been held on three occasions, with the inaugural awards hosted in partnership with Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality and the South African Broadcasting Corporation. These were followed by those that were held in Mangaung, Bloemfontein, in partnership with the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality. In 2015 the awards were held in Gauteng and it was the first time that monetary incentive was introduced. The incentives were two-fold. The individual winners were to utilise the financial incentive for the needs that are aligned to their projects, while the financial incentive handed out to institutions was tobe given to the heritage projects of their choice.


The Golden Shield Heritage Awards have stimulated lots of interest from communities. They also form a significant part on the national calendar.




National Living Treasure

The nominees must have promoted and advocated the significance or revival of Intangible Cultural Heritage over the period of years. The award recognizes an elder who is highly involved in transferring traditional art forms such as rug weaving, basketry, storytelling, pottery and design, as well as other forms that are considered intangible, to the young generation.  The nominees are expected to be persons who promote community events, volunteer work on a regular basis, take on a leadership role and encourage others to get involved. People who qualify for this award shall always be 50 years old and over in recognition of the wealth of knowledge they possess, not necessarily gathered through academic and scholarly work. A “bare-foot-professor” as they are commonly called.


Local Government Commitment

This category will recognise a municipality that has made outstanding contributions to local, regional or provincial heritage / history through innovative programmes that educate, interpret or promote public awareness of their heritage and history (province/municipality) excellence in research, writing or publishing. The Municipality should be active in local community activities that promote both tangible and intangible heritage. A bias towards intangible heritage will be an advantage for winning this category.

Preferred Heritage Destination

Nominees in this category can for example be, a heritage site, museum, leisure facility, interpretation centre, etc. that offers visitors an exceptional experience of cultural heritage and history of South Africa. It will be an added advantage for the ‘Preferred Heritage Destination’ to be an example that demonstrates an ever-evolving, popular and effective tourism product that engages with people of all ages.

Young Heritage Activist

Young persons of not older than 35 years can me nominated in this category. The person must have a proven track record of passionately contributing to heritage awareness of a greater community or even nationally. The work of the nominee for which he/she is nominated must make the nation proud of the rich cultural heritage of this country and its people. The person must be an active community activist who is recognised in the area where he/she operates.


Academic Excellence​

This award will recognise an academic institution or a person working for an academic institution that has initiatives / programmes that promote knowledge production in heritage. The category recognises excellence of research (individual/organisational) conducted on any subject of heritage. The work should demonstrate or show outstanding scholarship. The work must be unique and done in South Africa. All public and private tertiary institutions that offer academically accredited qualifications and are based in South Africa will be considered in this category.


Voice of Heritage

This category recognises any person or institution who publishes books, articles, magazines, websites or produces videos, documentaries, songs, digital games etc. to document heritage and make it accessible to the public. The final product may be for sale or free to the public. Evidence of an established record of making the material available to the public must be available as proof, for example, a copy of the product.


Heritage Corporate Citizen

Any private business that has incorporated heritage into part of their business is eligible to be nominated for this category. This may for example include the way the company preserves its history or history of products, the company’s commitment to fund heritage projects of communities, made other resources available to heritage development, protection and promotion, etc. The size of the business does not matter nor does the scale of the project.


Liberation Heritage Steward

The liberation struggle history of South Africa is a critical part of how our people’s freedom was taken away and the democracy was gained in many years. It now helps us a country to reconstruct this history as our heritage of a rainbow nation. Many citizens, organisations and companies have voluntarily taken the responsibility to protect the South African flag from being auctioned, the original Freedom Charter from being shipped out of the country and may other credible initiatives. Persons and organisations that have done such exceptional work to preserve our liberation heritage even in the unknown corners of our communities will be acknowledged in this category.

Heritage Education

Persons, irrespective of their profession, including Teachers as well as organisation are eligible for nomination in this category for work that educates other people about South African heritage and culture. It may be formal workshops, tours, educational programmes, special lessons or similar programmes that aims at making the public more aware and proud about the heritage, culture and history of South Africa.


Selection criteria:

Nominees must meet the following criteria to be considered:

• Individuals, groups or organisations that have made worthwhile contributions to the preservation and promotion of the county’s cultural and natural heritage;
• Nominees (Individuals / organisation / institutions which may include municipalities, management authorities, conservancies, academia, to name but a few) must still be active, or have left an indelible mark within the heritage sector, through promoting and protecting heritage, etc.
• Contribution can be through active physical promotion, preservation and protection of cultural heritage or it could be through financial support;
• Nominees may, or may not be South African citizens however their contribution should be that of promoting, protecting and preserving the South African Heritage.
• Cutting across all categories, individuals selected should be a person / persons who is / are a team leader (s), manager, owner, pioneer, nation builder, etc.​


The adjudication

Independent adjudicators will once again be invited to adjudicate over the nominations to select winners and runners up. After the submission closing date, a special committee or panel will adjudicate the applications. All finalists will be informed and invited to the ceremony that will be held on 16th of September 2016. Winners will be announced at the ceremony.
Subsequent to the selection of winners, the council reserves the right to decline recommended finalist/s. The Council decision shall therefore be final.


Key terms and conditions:

• Nominations from individuals, organizations, corporations, congregations, institutions, municipalities, and others deemed eligible by the NHC Council will be accepted excluding NHC employees/Councillors.
• Candidates should be nominated by a different person than themselves (no self-nominations will be accepted).
• Candidates should be nominated in no more than two categories.
• Nominated projects should have been completed at least within the past three years.
• Each nomination must be accompanied by a fully completed Nomination Form.
• Nominees should be reachable by telephone and cell phone. An email will be an added advantage.
• Should nominees be contacted by the NHC and not answer their phones, a message should be left and the nominee should return the call with 24hours during working hours on weekdays.
• The judges’ decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
• The NHC reserves the right to make any amendments to the process, procedures.


Enquiries should be directed to The Heritage Unit on Tel: +27 12 348-1663 or