The heritage sector is increasingly influential and important worldwide, and a significant field of practice in Africa. The Postgraduate Diploma in Heritage Management, housed in the Anthropology Department at Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape, raises the issue of Africa’s position in the global field of heritage management, highlighting the particularities of local contexts in South Africa.

We advance existing and aspirant heritage practitioners’ knowledge of the definitions and practices of heritage at both institutional and community level.  We support the conceptualisation, design and implementation of project initiatives that contribute to the rejuvenation and expansion of heritage as a vital component of social life.

We move beyond conventional definitions of heritage, encouraging diverse ways of engaging with what matters to people and communities of all kinds.

Understandings of heritage, and how to care for it, have, and continue to be, heavily contested.

The course encourages existing and aspirant heritage practitioners to cultivate sensitivity to contestations, craft new definitions of heritage, and consider innovative approaches to heritage management so the full potential of the field can be realised.

The one year diploma emphasises work or placement-based learning. So the everyday practices and projects of heritage practitioners are part of how learning is undertaken. We introduce participants to critical theory and contemporary research to enable them to theorise and critique everyday heritage management practices, and conceptualise innovation within international, national, institutional and community contexts.

The aim of the course is not to “teach” a set of generic skills or techniques, but create spaces where participants meet to draw upon the insights that different contexts offer to interrogate current heritage management practices, and imagine fresh possibilities beyond.

Exit level outcomes

  • Articulate a nuanced understanding of the social and historical embedding of heritage in a variety of institutional, local and global contexts.
  • Engage with the particularities of Africa’s position in the global field of heritage management.
  • Sensitivity to issues of access, ownership and contestation over heritage resources.
  • Familiarity with national (South African) and international (UNESCO) heritage policy environments and legislative frameworks, and demonstrate awareness of their impact on definitions of heritage and management thereof.
  • Participate in key areas of practice in contemporary heritage management, including legal compliance, managing a team, curatorship, and grant applications.
  • Competence to work within the framework of heritage legislation and administration.
  • Understanding of institutional approaches to identifying heritage and heritage management.
  • Recognise and engage with non-institutional approaches to identifying heritage and heritage management.
  • Encourage independent enquiry to critically engage with practices of heritage management in a workplace or placement environment.
  • Acquire the specific literacies (spoken and written) appropriate to the context of heritage management locally and globally.

Student projects


Valerine Molo

I would say that my experience with this course was one of the most amazing thing I can ever imagine.

Doing the course was very exciting, it was broad in a way that we had time to explore more about heritage work.

I have learned a lot from the guest lectures we had, how heritage sites are graded, getting into the world of digitization of museums with presentations of our own ideas to one employee of Robben Island.

Our lectures were very supportive when the pandemic started and a new program was implemented.

I would recommend this course to anyone who would be interested in exploring more in Heritage Studies and learning about our history and how can we protect our heritage for future generations.


The greatest value of the Heritage Management program is the access to industry professionals. The insight into the reality of heritage management in South Africa and its various professional avenues gained from the professionals themselves was invaluable.

Although the aim of the program is to provide practical experience, the circumstances of Covid-19 were impossible to predict. While the intended field trips and practical work had to be put on hold, the program adjusted swiftly and continued to provide relevant and invaluable knowledge from industry professionals as well as sound support in adjusting to online learning.

The assignments for the course were also relevant and were designed to develop the skills that would come to use in the real world of heritage management, such as developing social media platform skills, business proposals, presentations and research skills.

Simphiwe Mzisi

The course content is very rich, from knowing and understanding heritage laws, heritage case studies, digital heritage and developing a thesis.

I would recommend the course to anyone who loves heritage or heritage matters. I hope now will be able to contribute to my community, province and government. I am looking forward to give my input across spaces.

Thank you

Eddie Mulubi

When I look back my class was filled with leaders who shared light and knowledge throughout the program. Being one of the PGHM student at Rhodes University, my experience has far surpassed what I could have expected. It has been a wonderful program that allows you to make deep connections with people and get more involved on campus.

My journey with the PGHM program has left me with a sense of enlightenment about the world before me. I have been given tools to make a difference in my community… now all that is left is to take action. The experience will last a lifetime.

My special appreciation goes to Dr. Dominique Santos, the senior lecture at the Rhodes University

When I walked at the doors of the University, I knew nothing about the heritage. Now, I know a little more, and for much of it I have you to thank. You are an icon of integrity and hard work, as well as a great philanthropist. Your achievements and outstanding leadership qualities are worthy of emulation.