Joanna Marx recently died in her sleep while visiting friends in London. She will always be remembered in the Karoo for the key role she played in the preservation of the historical architecture. She criss-crossed the Great Karoo, Klein Karoo, Southern Cape and Overberg, like a missionary fiercely preaching conservation and cultural heritage. Joanna developed an interest in conservation while working in London in the sixties. Back in South Africa she joined the National Monuments Council and broadened this interest by undertaking historic surveys in many small Karoo towns, which initially had no knowledge nor appreciation of their architectural heritage. Joanna served on the advisory committees of Gamkaskloof and the Cango Caves. When the South African Historic Resources Agency was created she helped shift the emphasis from the preservation of individual buildings to defining, special qualities of places and cultural landscapes. She was passionate about the Karoo and its historic structures. Her personal enthusiasm helped to convince local authorities and residents of the value of humble structures. The Central Karoo learned a great deal from Joanna. Her enthusiasm rubbed off on everyone from mayors and town clerks to township dwellers. She was a unique person and a tenacious fighter for all she believed in.
© Rose’s Roundup, Jule 2012 (No 222)
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