Heritage Day: 24 September 2019
South Africa is a special place. If you are South African, we don’t need to tell you this as you will be well aware of the fact. You’ll be hard pressed to find another place as diverse and unique in that diversity than in beautiful Mzansi.
Eleven official languages, an abundance of cultures, ethnic groups, and religions make for a special multicultural setting that, for the most part, thrives in unity resulting in the one-of-a-kind haven we call the Republic.
So much so that a national public holiday has been dedicated to that exact fact: to celebrate the vast cultures and different traditions that make up the melting pot that is South Africa. Of course, it’s Heritage Day.
Heritage Day stems from the celebration by the Zulus in Kwa Zulu Natal, where Shaka Day was celebrated annually on the 24 September – the day commemorates the unification between Zulu tribes by King Shaka. When South African parliament passed a bill for national public holidays, the Zulus objected when their day wasn’t included. A compromised was reached and Heritage Day, a day to celebrate all nationalities was born.
So, how are you as a South African celebrate this day this year? Well, that’s the beauty of it – there is no set way to do so. We can only provide a couple of suggestions of what to do:
There have been massive efforts to rename, at least unofficially, the day as National Braai Day. And with good reason. If there is one thing that just about any South African can do, and do well at that, no matter their culture, it is to braai. A braai is still a firm favourite for most South Africans on the off day. And why not? If South Africa had a national smell, it would be that of tenderised meat on a sekelbos, or Charka, fire.
2. Learn your Heritage
If you have had an in-depth look at your past before, good. See the next point. If you haven’t, why not do it for the first time, this year?
The obvious place to start is searching your last name’s origin on the internet. But, that’s only the beginning. Websites such as ancestry.com enables you to look up your family tree and/or build it as you go.
If you get REALLY invested in your heritage, you can go as far as having your DNA tested through the site which will give you exactly where you’re from to the last percentage. How cool is that?!
3. Learn the Heritage of Others
It goes without saying that South Africa has a rich, albeit complicated history. That history includes countless trials and tribulations that some cultures faced in the past.
And like the wisest character of our childhood, and perhaps now your children’s childhood said: “You can either run from your past – or learn from it.” No prizes in guessing which one we’re urging you to do…
4. Spend it at Sandton Central
It might be a one of the most significant public holidays on our calendar. But it’s still a holiday after all. Put your feet up or bring them shopping.
You need not feel bad in taking the day to yourself. Come and spend it at your favourite place – Sandton Central. Shop, dine, and watch all the heritages come together. Who is to say that isn’t your heritage in and of itself? It certainly is ours…