History, heritage and conservation featured prominently at the 110th Commemorative Anniversary of the South African National Society (SANS) at Campbell Collections Durban. The event was themed ‘Looking Ahead to Protect the Past’.

Ian Smith, SANS president, highlighted the society’s objectives in preserving objects of historic interest and natural beauty.

Sinothi Thabethe, director of Durban Local History Museums, shared insights into collaborative partnerships between the society and the museums, particularly KwaMuhle Museum where the SANS monthly meetings are held.
Principal speaker Jane Bedford shared memories about her Great Aunt Killie and the Campbell Family. Bedford’s address included anecdotes about this amazing pioneer family and their vast contribution to the early days of Natal. According to Bedford, the Campbells played a huge part in ensuring the present University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) was established. “They were closely involved with the very first scheme to make the harbour entrance safer, but today are perhaps best remembered for the leading role in the sugar industry that still thrives well over a century later,” she said.

Through the establishment of a bursary fund in 1979 in Killie Campbell’s name, the society was delighted to present two candidates with bursaries. Nontobeko Ngubane and Steven Kotze were the proud recipients. Ngubane’s research examines the inequality of healthcare facilities provided by the colonial government at three cottage hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal during the period 1880 to 1910.

Kotze’s research focuses on the Zulu society and metal production in what is today KZN. Zulu weapon production has been closely investigated but the metal work associated with hoes has implications for many aspects of Zulu society such as food production.