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“Our Seafaring and Shipping Heritage: Survival, Challenges and Opportunities in Times of Pandemia”

3rd Maritime Heritage Conference

Date: 24th September 2021 

Time: 10H00 - 17H00

Venue: MHI Conference Virtual Centre


“Our Seafaring and Shipping Heritage: Survival, Challenges and Opportunities in Times of Pandemia”

Keynote Address:


Professor/Captain Frederick Francis

Hon Professor, Master Mariner, LLM

Founder Commodore and President: The World Maritime Heritage Society.




Delivering the Maritime Heritage Lecture 



“Our Seafaring and Shipping Heritage: Survival, Challenges and Opportunities in Times of Pandemia”

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Dr Andrea Nanetti

Vice-President (Research and Innovation), World Maritime Heritage Society

Founding Editor-in-Chief, Engineering Historical Memory

Professor Elizabeth Su

Chair, Education, World Maritime Heritage Society

Mason Fellow (Harvard, Class of 1996/7)


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Commander Tsietsi Mokhele

Chairperson of the Board, Maritime Heritage Institute (MHI

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Mr Patric Tariq Mellet

Asirawan Siam Healing House & SA-Thai Slave Heritage Reflection Centre

South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA)

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Ms Louisa Mabe

Acting CEO of the National Heritage Council (NHC)

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Mr Odwa Mtati

CEO - South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI)

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Ms Wendy Cooke

Sub Lieutenant South Africa Sea Cadets 

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Ms Rosabelle Boswell

DSI-NRF South African Research Chair in Ocean Cultures and Heritage

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Mr Siqhamo Yamkela

Senior lecturer in the Department of Public, Constitutional and International Law at the University of South Africa’s College of Law

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Ms Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane

Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO): South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

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Ms Jessica Davids

Enterprising and dedicated Maritime Training Specialist operating in maritime industry

Media Statement

16 September 2021



The Maritime Heritage Institute (MHI), in association with the Department of Public, Constitutional and International of the University of South Africa’s (UNISA) College of Law, the National Heritage Council (NHC) and the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) is hosting the 3rd yet another groundbreaking Maritime Heritage Conference in celebration of our National Heritage Day, Tourism Month and the World Maritime Day on 24th September 2021.


“This follows very successful inaugural and 2nd voyages of the Maritime Heritage Conference that have set to sail for this and many more to come in this long exploration to re-anchoring the African maritime heritage story”, says Mr Morakabe Seakhoa, Chief Executive Officer of the Maritime Heritage Institute


Mr Seakhoa said the Maritime Heritage Institute was very pleased “to welcome aboard the three partners in UNISA, NHC and SAIMI. The developing partnership is certainly good news as it advances the exciting work the MHI is doing, especially among the youth, to be involved in matters of maritime heritage in order to reap the benefits this industry has the potential of yielding, starting with this 3rd Maritime Heritage Conference”.


“In keeping with the theme of World Maritime Day 2021, being "Seafarers: At the Core of Shipping's Future", the 3rd Maritime Heritage Conference’s is “Our Seafaring and Shipping Heritage: Survival, Challenges and Opportunities In Times of Pandemia” and seeks to reflect on our maritime heritage and history which show the role of seafarers and ships in the development and sustaining of society, especially during pandemic crises”, continued Mr Seakhoa.


He said the MHI is delighted to announce that “the keynote speaker at this 3rd Maritime Heritage Conference is Captain Frederick James Francis, the founding Commodore & President of the World Maritime Heritage Society, delivering the Annual Maritime Heritage Lecture”.


An impressive array of other speakers include Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, Board Chairperson of the Maritime Heritage Institute; Ms Louisa Mabe, NHC’s Acting CEO; Mr Siqhamo Yamkela Ntola, Senior Lecturer at UNISA’s Law College’s Department of Public, Constitutional and International Law; SAIMI’s CEO, Mr Odwa Mtati; Prof Rosabelle (Rose) Boswell, Anthropologist and Poet, South African Research Chair in Ocean Cultures and Heritage at the Nelson Mandela University; Ms Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane, Acting CEO of the S.A Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA); Ms Jessica Davids, Specialist - Maritime Education and Training; Mr Patric Tariq Mellet, from the Asirawan Siam Healing House & SA-Thai Slave Heritage Reflection Centre and a councillor at the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA); and Ms Wendy Cooke, from the South African Sea Cadets - Vereeniging Unit.


The aims of the Maritime Heritage Conference, in celebrating the South African National Heritage Month, are to situate and advance the knowledge and engagement of our maritime heritage and future in popular, scholarly, ordinary folk, interest-specific and communities’ consciousness and everyday practice.


It takes place as part of South Africa’s 26th national Heritage Day/Month (24th September) celebrations, together with the 27th anniversary of our Freedom and Democracy and marking the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) 43rd World Maritime Month/Day.


“To this end, the Conference – which this year is again negatively affected by the COVID19-related restrictions - seeks to bring together individuals, institutions and groups with wide-ranging interests and knowledge in maritime heritage to explore and discuss diverse themes in this important sector”, concluded Mr Seakhoa.


To attend the 3rd Maritime Heritage Conference, please follow the link on our website:


For media enquiries, please contact:


The Maritime Heritage Institute

+27 11 791 9141 or

Chronicling Our Underwater  Heritage 

The heritage legislation in South Africa has recognised the importance of protecting maritime culture for many years, and national legislation has included the protection of shipwrecks as early as 1979.  Heritage is the full range of our inherited traditions, monuments, objects, and culture. Most important, it is the range of contemporary activities, meanings, and behaviours that we draw from them.

It is both tangible and intangible, in the sense that ideas and memories – of songs, recipes, language, dances, archival documents, oral histories, the stories of indigenous cultures that have lived and used the oceans for centuries and many other elements of who we are and how we identify ourselves – are as important as historic shipwrecks, historical buildings and prehistoric archaeological sites.

Preserving African Maritime History

Our aim is to create awareness around the historical significance of African Maritime records whilst preserving, interpreting and advancing our maritime heritage.

Devoted To Propagation, Education & Training and Awareness Creation – Dedicated To African Maritime Heritage

Contextualising the Geographical Setting

South Africa is the only country on the African continent that has access and control over sea waters covering an area equivalent to 1.6 million km² with a coastline of 3924 km – from the Atlantic Ocean in the west, Southern Ocean to the Antarctic and Indian Ocean in the east.


It has been a major player in African maritime archaeology for many years and its history is much intertwined with maritime and underwater heritage elsewhere in the world. The South African maritime resources are vast, including almost 3,000 shipwrecks, land-based maritime sites as well as a myriad of living heritage resources connected to the maritime landscape.

“It can be the platform for political recognition, a medium for intercultural dialogue, a means of ethical reflection, and the potential basis for local economic development. It is simultaneously local and particularly, global and shared. 


Maritime heritage is a way to connect all of us to the ocean and inland waterways, not just those living along the coast and river/lake/dam banks.”

- Maritime Heritage Institute

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