Declarations

DECLARATION OF THE OWL HOUSE AND CAMEL YARD AS A NATIONAL HERITAGE SITE

SiteReference: 

DeclarationType: 

GazetteNo: 

41141

Gazette Date: 

Friday, September 29, 2017

NoticeNo: 

1044

Notice Date: 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Gazette Notice Status: 

  • Current

GazetteFile: 

DeedsNo: 

T 7831/1984

ShortDescription: 

By virtue of the powers vested in the South African Heritage Resources Agency, in terms of
section 27 (5) of the National Heritage Resources Act (No. 25 of 1999) SAHRA hereby
declares the Owl House and Camel Yard on erf. 306, Nieu-Bethesda, a National Heritage
Sites.

FullDescription: 

The Owl House and Camel Yard represent South Africa’s foremost example of outsider art.
The Owl House and Camel yard were created by Helen Martins and her assistants, most
notably, Koos Malgas; and became well-known after the internationally recognised Athol
Fugard play, ‘The Road to Mecca’ in 1984, a play that is still performed worldwide. It was
after this play that visitors started looking for the Owl House. Helen Martins is internationally
recognised as one of the top ten female and top 13 outsider artists in the world and the Owl
House has become a significant tourist destination for the Eastern Cape and South Africa.
The Owl House, Camel Yard and context of Nieu-Bethesda form a coherent unity and
cannot be considered separately. On the property is the concrete manifestation of the
strange and unique world that outsider artist Helen Martins and her assistants (most
prominent among them, Koos Malgas) created. The site also acknowledges the role that
Koos Malgas played in the making of the sculptures and the collaboration which he shared
with Ms. Martins and stands a testament to artistic practice during a time where this sort of
collaboration between members of different race groups which was not encouraged.

 
 

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