Original Research

Management guidelines for the conservation of heritage resources in Wakkerstroom, Mpumalanga

Reitumetse M.H. Sethaba, Mary Scholes
Koedoe | Vol 63, No 1 | a1647 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v63i1.1647 | © 2021 Reitumetse M.H. Sethaba, Mary Scholes | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 July 2020 | Published: 20 January 2021

About the author(s)

Reitumetse M.H. Sethaba, School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Mary Scholes, School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Conservation of heritage resources, both architectural and cultural, focuses on the important of historical context, identity and to provide livelihoods for people. Management and stakeholder engagement are fundamental for conservation. This article describes the contribution of stakeholder perceptions in the development of management guidelines for the conservation of heritage resources in the town of Wakkerstroom, Mpumalanga. The concept of conservation is usually used with reference to the natural heritage; however, this should also include architectural and cultural conservation, in the same location, as is done in many other parts of the world. The study of the combined architectural and cultural heritage in Wakkerstroom is one of the first of such studies in South Africa. The natural heritage resources were identified and a stakeholder map developed after conducting interviews with 27 participants in the township of Esizameleni and 15 participants in the town. Resources identified included the provincial heritage sites of the Wakkerstroom Wetland, the Paul Kruger Bridge, St Mark’s Anglican Church and the Old Courthouse Building. Heritage value definitions in the town area were centred on inheritance, whilst township stakeholders valued the identity aspect of heritage. A lack of communication, participation and awareness around heritage conservation was identified as a key issue amongst the communities. In addition, unlike natural heritage conservation, where the Wakkerstroom Natural Heritage Association takes care of the wetland, no organisation was found to be responsible for cultural heritage conservation in the town. The municipality urgently needs to address these concerns by developing an integrated management plan for heritage resource conservation.

Conservation implications: Conservation includes more than just the conservation of natural heritage. The Wakkerstroom Natural Heritage Association (WNHA) manages natural heritage, but there is no organisation managing cultural heritage. Heritage conservation would benefit from the development of an integrated management plan lead by Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Local Municipality together with the identified stakeholders.


Keywords

heritage; conservation; resource management; stakeholder engagement; sustainable communities

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