African Society of Architects, The


It became clear by the beginning of 1899 that a proper governing body representing the architects of the Cape Colony be formed. Herbert BAKER duly sent a letter on 25 April 1899 to address this issue. The letter was to discuss the formulation of a 'proposed association for the protection and advancement of architecture'. The Society's name was initially The African Society of Architects.

The following architects were invited at the initiative of Herber BAKER: HS GREAVES, John PARKER, JE VIXSEBOXSE, A DE WITT, CH SMITH, AH REID, Francis MASEY, FK KENDALL, Messrs ACKERMANN and ADAMSON, JC TULLY, GM ALEXANDER AND G RANSOME. HS GREAVES declined the invitation, considering himself ineligible as he was a Government architect.

The outcome was positive and on 28 April 1899 a meeting at the Chief Inspector of Public Works' office specifically discussed the formation of a society for 'protection and advancement of architects' interest in Cape Town'. BAKER was unable to attend, and in fact never attended any subsequent meetings.

Francis MASEY spoke on his behalf at this meeting. It was agreed unanimously to form such a society. The first committee consisted of Messrs ACKERMANN, REID, SMITH, VIXSEBOXSE and MASEY (secretary). They were authorised to prepare a draft constitution. Its first object was to promote a Bill of Parliament to obtain recognition of the profession and protect qualified practitioners. A decision was also taken at this meeting not to elect a permanent President but choose a Chairman at each meeting. The South African War however delayed further implementation. This decision was subsequently changed in 1902 where-after it was agreed to elect a President.

A charter was obtained and its name was changed to the African Institute of Architects.

(Walker, 2011:4-5)