Owl House Foundation AGM and some history

Are you interested in the preservation of the Owl House? Make sure to attend the Owl House Foundation’s annual general meeting (AGM) taking place on Saturday, 10 November 2018.

The meeting will be held in the OHF Boardroom in Martins Street, Nieu Bethesda, at 10:00.

In the years following Helen Martins’ death, visitors would still come by to see the Owl House. At that stage, however, there was no oversight.

Following Helen Martins’ death in 1976, the local municipality took ownership of the property through an arrangement with her family. According to Anne Emslie, who was instrumental in the establishment of the Owl House as a tourist attraction, the house was left to her nephew Herman Martins (one of the sons of Pieter van der Merwe Martins), with a request that it be preserved as a museum. The Beyers Naudé Municipality continues to own the property to this day and the day to day is administered by the Owl House Foundation.

For a number of years, before the formation of the Friends of the Owl House, it was overseen by the municipality. Visitors were shown around on request or had to collect the key from the local postmistress or town clerk. No restoration or preservation was done in this time. Sadly, a number of smaller items disappeared from the house during this time as no one was keeping a watching eye.

In the early 1980’s the Friends of the Owl House was started by enthusiasts and art lovers in Cape Town, spear-headed by Raymond van Niekerk, the then head of the National Gallery.

After the Friends took over the running of the Owl House and with funds available, along with a funding partnership that was established with PPC Cement, they started restoration.

During 1996 the Owl House Foundation, a non-profit company in terms of the Companies Act, was founded to draw local residents in as volunteers. PPC was encouraged to revive their support and they provided legal and logistical help in establishing the Owl House Foundation as a non-profit organisation. An agreement between the Owl House Foundation and the municipality led to the non-profit organisation taking over the daily running of the Owl House, including administration, staff and conservation and renovation of the historical building.

The board of directors are elected every year during the Owl House Foundation’s annual general meeting. Members of the Owl House Foundation (informally referred to as Friends of the Owl House) pay an annual stipend. They can be nominated and elected as members of the board during the annual general meeting.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Owl House Foundation can contact the Foundation at admin@theowlhouse.co.za or call 049 8411 733.

No member shall be entitled, while any subscription due to the Company is more than three months in arrears, to exercise any of the rights or privileges of membership, including the right to vote at the Annual General Meeting. Any paid-up member who is unable to attend the meeting may nominate another person to attend and vote on his/her behalf by way of a proxy vote. Proxy forms can be obtained at the offices of the Foundation in Martins Street, Nieu Bethesda or by clicking on the proxy vote form. Make sure that you send your proxy form to admin@theowlhouse.co.za ahead of the AGM.

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