About us

The National Heritage Council of South Africa is a statutory body that is responsible for the preservation of the country’s heritage. Since its existence on 26 February 2004, it has managed to place heritage as a priority for nation building and national identity.


A schedule 3A public entity that came into existence through an amendment of the Cultural Laws Second Amendment Act 69 of 2001, The National Heritage Council of South Africa was officially constituted through the National Heritage Council Act 11 of 1999, which was assented to on 14 April1999 and officially proclaimed on 26 February 2004.

The important areas that the NHC focuses on are:

  • Policy development for the sector to meet its transformation goals.
  • Public awareness and education.
  • Knowledge production in heritage subjects that were previously neglected,
  • Making funding available to projects that place heritage as a socio-economic resource.


  • Definition of HeritageHeritage is what is preserved from the past as the living collective memory of a people not only to inform the present about the past but also to equip successive generations to fashion their future. It is what creates a sense of identity and assures rootedness and continuity, so that what is brought out by dynamism of culture is not changed for its own sake, but it is a result of people’s conscious choice to create a better life.


  • Definition of Culture“Culture is the sum total of what is produced collectively by a people’s creative genius. It is dynamic and it is always in motion. It is, therefore, always developing as a result of human action and interaction. Every society has a culture and at times a heterogeneous society like ours has several cultures. Some of these cultures are exploitive while others are liberating. All cultures have a material base and values which are reflective of a people’s creativity and uniqueness. They include tangible and the intangible”.

Discussion Document towards defining ‘Heritage’: Discussion Document_ Definition of Heritage_Final



A nation proud of its African heritage.


To transform, protect and promote South African heritage for sustainable development.

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