The South African Heritage Resources Association and Rhodes University jointly launched “CenTRE” on May 7 — the “Centre for Training, Research and Education”.
The centre, based in Grahamstown, will offer a heritage-based study programme accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority, said Sibongile van Damme, the chief executive of the South African Heritage Resources Agency.
Forty-five students are already enrolled, Van Damme said. “I believe that chief executives of agencies of government have a big role to play in supporting skills development in the sector we work in and outside of the confines of our own institutions.”
The South African Heritage Resources Agency is mandated by the National Heritage Resources Act of 1999 to ensure “that an effective integrated heritage resources management framework exists for the management of South Africa’s national heritage estate”, the association’s mission statement says.
Van Damme is an educationist by training, was a Rhodes student and worked previously for KZN Wildlife and SANParks.
“I have also written and published copyright-free materials as teaching support materials for teachers to integrate environmental learning into the school curriculum,” Van Damme said. “I am trying to do the same for the heritage sector.”