National Heritage and Cultural Studies (NAHECS)

The National Heritage and Cultural Studies Centre (NAHECS) was established in 1981 on the basis of the former Xhosa Literature Centre, attached to the past Faculty of Arts. The objective of the centre was to accumulate, document and preserve oral and written literary material pertinent to the isiXhosa Language with the purpose of making it accessible to various researchers and the public. In 1991 the Centre‟s name was changed to the Centre for Cultural Studies (CCS). This name change brought new objectives, namely to promote the knowledge and understanding of material and human resources pertinent to heritage and culture in South Africa through the collection, preservation, study, exposition, enrichment and advancement of material evidence.

In 1998, Council approved a second change of name to the National Heritage and Cultural Studies Centre (NAHECS). NAHECS thus became a broad-based heritage institution which focuses on  archival, museum, academic and  heritage transformation, as well as a developing research unit. In the same year its significant museum collections were  unanimously declared a  „national cultural treasure‟  by Parliament.


The National Heritage and Cultural Studies is a bona fide academic unit of the university.   It envisions itself as the premier conservation, academic and research institution in heritage and cultural studies and liberation history in Africa, accessible to  both the scholarly community and the public, and as a  centre of  excellence engaging in national and international scholarly discourses, producing critical knowledge, and expanding the intellectual capacity of the South African nation.


NAHECS, working with academic units, interdisciplinary programmes and strategic partners pursues the mission of acquiring, conserving, processing, developing and managing liberation history and cultural archives, literature, works of art, artifacts and intangible heritage materials. The Centre will recruit students, researchers and scholars to explore, research and study materials in its care in order to produce knowledge and intellectual capacity in a manner that will empower participants in its programmes and projects to contribute towards the process of defining or redefining social relations, issues of identity, heritage and cultural policy, and also if vivifying the historical role and expanding the critical intellectual tradition of the University.