Heritage Month & Day

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September is Heritage Month in South Africa, with National Heritage Day celebrated on 24 September. Heritage Day is one of the newly created South African public holidays. It is a day on which all are encouraged to celebrate their cultural traditions and beliefs (the Rainbow Nation).

In a country of 11 official languages, one must wonder as to whose heritage are we called to celebrate: Well… The 24th of September marks ‘Shaka Day’ or ‘Shaka’s Day’, a day which commemorates the legendary King Shaka Zulu. Shaka Zulu played an important role in uniting different Zulu clans into one cohesive Zulu nation in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

When the New South African Parliament omitted Shaka Day from the proposed Public Holidays Bill, a South African political party with a large Zulu membership, objected.

A compromise was reached, and it was decided that a national holiday would be created where South Africans of all cultures and creeds could come together and celebrate their diverse cultural heritage. Now known as Heritage Day.

The late former President Nelson Mandela said, “When our first democratically-elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation.”

Acknowledging the struggles against the injustice and inequities of the past that are a part of our national identity, a part of our culture, and a part of who we are and who we want to become.

This led to Heritage Day being famously known as Braai Day, it was an initiative by Jan Scannell (otherwise known as ‘Jan Braai’), Braai4Heritage, that called upon all South Africans to celebrate their common roots by having a braai (barbeque) instead of focusing on cultural divisions.

What better way to celebrate heritage, each other and each other’s successes other than sitting around a fire with the smell of braai vleis, a drink, snacks and a good story? 

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About Nazeema Sishi

I am a content researcher who just started with Leads 2 Business in February this year, I work in the Daily Tenders South Africa department. I am a young vibrant lady who enjoys meeting new people and doing new things. I welcome challenges and always find new ways of doing things. I am a mum and I love spending time with my not so little, very talkative son.