Stellenbosch Survey: General Introduction

The heritage survey for the central core of Stellenbosch, the middedorp, which was steered by Stellenbosch Heritage Foundation, represents the first phase of a planned heritage survey for the greater Stellenbosch, to conform to the guidelines for built environment surveys of Heritage Western Cape region, within the legal framework of the National Heritage Resources Act.

Stellenbosch is in a phase of development between town and city. It has been identified as a high potential growth area by the Western Cape government. The survey identifies heritage resources in the middedorp and describes their significance in advance of potential development, so that the management of any proposed development will be clear, lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair. Planning and design are necessary disciplines to negotiate sustainable development with regard for sense of place.

The survey was informed by the history and development of Stellenbosch as an early South African settlement. Generally, the survey is embedded in assumptions that planning, design and heritage have significance in communities.

The heritage survey for the historical core of Stellenbosch reflects work done previously by various persons and organisations, most notably Penny Pistorius who documented a number of buildings in 1998. Her work was extensively used when Stuart Hermansen started the heritage survey in 2005 on the instigation of Bernabé de la Bat and with funding from Historical Homes of South Africa. Further work on and funding of the survey was undertaken under the auspices of the Stellenbosch Heritage Foundation in 2011. At the time Prof Matilda Burden, who did an earlier report in 2009, and Dr Hans Fransen were appointed to complete the survey, with administrative and other assistance by the Stellenbosch Heritage Foundation and The Office in Stellenbosch (Pty) Ltd.

The graders, Prof Matilda Burden and Dr Hans Fransen, are both cultural historians with 45 and 35 years’ experience in heritage work respectively; one member is the leading expert and author on historical architectural styles in South Africa; the other was the previous chairperson of the IGIC where several surveys have been considered over the past four years.