What Is Heritage Day In South Africa

Heritage Day is a South African public holiday and celebrations of the day are taking place on 24th September.

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On this day which is known as Heritage Day in South Africa across the continuum are encouraged to celebrate their culture and the variety of their beliefs and traditions.

South Africa Heritage Day: Celebration, Significances, History, Quotes, Meaning

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The celebration of this important event is done in massive context at the entire nation and this event is also highly respected by the people.

History of Heritage Day before 1995

In KwaZulu-Natal, September 24 Heritage Day was known as Shaka Day, in memorial of the Zulu King, Shaka. Shaka was the Zulu King who essayed a crucial role in uniting disparate Zulu clans into a unified nation.

Each year people gather at King Shaka’s on this King’s grave to honor and to pay their respects to the king on this Heritage Day.

The Public Holidays Bill offered to the new democratic Parliament of South Africa in 1995 did not have 24 September included on the list of proposed public holidays.

So as the consequences the keeping out of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), a South African political party with a large Zulu membership, objected to the bill. Parliament and the IFP reached a compromise and the day was given its present title also declares as a national and public holiday.

“Heritage Day is the time or a perfect day on which time South Africans celebrate the miscellaneous cultural heritage that makes up a “rainbow nation”. It is the day to celebrate the contribution of all South Africans which they provide for the Country South Africa (sic)

— Lowry 21:1995

Heritage Day is a popular and famous South African occasion celebrated on 24 September. This is the day when the people of South Africans globally emphasizes on to speak well of their way of life and the decent variety of their beliefs, customs, traditions, and rituals.

With elaborating this stuff we can say that it is the more extensive set of a country that has a place with every one of its kin and Heritage Day in South Africa is all about that.


Heritage is best broken up into two types: natural and cultural.


All countries in the world have some natural heritage which is the environment and natural resources of the country, including, gold and water.

Some areas of the South Africa is very specific it in these areas animals or plants are in danger of death like the St. Lucia Wetlands and uKhahlamba Drakensberg Parks in KwaZulu Natal are often designated World Heritage sites.

The day Heritage Day is also mentioned to be respected and internationally protected animals against all kinds of harm.


Cultural heritage, on the other side, can be altogether more contentious issue. Usually, the word ‘cultural heritage’ is used to describe those things that contribute to the sense of identity of a particular population or community of people.

These can be special monuments, like a building, sculpture, painting, a cave-dwelling or anything important and relate to its history, artistic or scientific value.

South African Culture

South Africa has been legendarily referred to as the rainbow nation as the country experienced and witnessed various kinds of diverse cultures and religions.  To name but a few in South Africa, we have; Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Tswana, Ndebele, Khoisan, Hindu, Muslim, and Afrikaner people…

All of these people are united by calling South Africa home

South Africa has eight places declared as World Heritage Sites, these are:

The iSimangaliso Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park

The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park

Robben Island

The Fossil Hominid Sites of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai, and environs

The Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape

Vredefort Dome

The Cape Floral Region

The Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape

In the country, South Africa filled with good times, national manifestation, and, unavoidably, debate. Initially celebrated as Shaka Day in KZN, September 24th was renamed as Heritage Day because of some issues.

In 2005 a then 25-year-old South African, Jan Scanell (aka Jan Braai) launched a “National Braai Day” campaign. And this day was gather limelight on 24th of September.

National Braai Day, stands for, braaing as a means of unified celebration. Below we highlight eight perspectives and ideas on the reclaiming of Heritage Day.

Heritage Day Quotes

1). “This is about much more than cooking meat on a fire… In fact, whether you actually cook meat on a fire is utterly unimportant. You can cook vegetables on that fire, or fish, or just stand around the fire. This is about uniting a nation, a nation so divided by its past, but a nation that has everything going for it to be a fantastic place, and we are a fantastic place.”

2). “The government is trying to give people the space to define for themselves who they are, what their heritage is and where they are going. This was done in an effort to bring dignity to who our people are. It will really be a sad day if braaing one day becomes more important than celebrating our heritage.”
-Former ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga

3). “But if you’re going to require that people take these things seriously, at least let that mean more than reading op-eds and attending boring speeches by aged politicians. So if somebody suggests that I could spend the day having a braai with my nearest and dearest, who am I to argue? Mathole Motshekga is certainly not offering up any helpful ideas on how to celebrate the day.”
-Mail & Guardian Columnist Faranaaz Parker (Heritage Day: Braai, and braai proudly! 2013)

4). “It’s a fantastic thing, a very simple idea. Irrespective of your politics, of your culture, of your race, of your whatever, hierdie ding doen on saam…Here is one thing that can unite us irrespective of all of the things that are trying to tear us apart.”
–Desmond Tutu, patron saint of Braai Day

–Jan Scannell

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