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Heritage Day - Lets Braai

Heritage Day on 24 September recognises and celebrates the cultural wealth of our nation. South Africans celebrate the day by remembering the cultural heritage of the many cultures that make up the population of South Africa. Various events are staged throughout the country to commemorate this day.

Living heritage is the foundation of all communities and an essential source of identity and continuity. Aspects of living heritage include: cultural tradition, oral history, performance, ritual, popular memory, skills and techniques, indigenous knowledge system and the holistic approach to nature, society and social relationships. In South Africa the term “intangible cultural heritage” is used interchangeably with the term “living heritage”.

Living heritage plays an important role in promoting cultural diversity, social cohesion, reconciliation, peace and economic development. In every community there are living human treasures who possess a high degree of knowledge, skills and history pertaining to different aspects of diverse living heritage. It is therefore important for South Africans to reclaim, restore and preserve these various aspects of living heritage to accelerate the use of living heritage to address challenges communities are facing today.

HISTORY OF HERITAGE DAY

September 24 was previously known in South Africa as Shaka Day, a day commemorating the Zulu King of Shaka. He was known for uniting the Zulu clan together and forming the Zulu nation. Every year, South Africans would gather at his grave to honor him. In 1995 a request for the day to be confirmed as an official holiday was rejected. After receiving some pushback from the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), a majority Zulu party, it was decided that the day was needed and would be known as ‘‘Heritage Day.’’

heritageday timeline

Since then South Africans have celebrated Heritage Day by remembering the cultural heritage of the many different cultures that make up their nation. Events are held across the country with some people choosing to dress up in traditional attire.

There was a media campaign in 2005 that sought to have the day recognized as National Braai Day, to acknowledge the backyard barbeque tradition, but the holiday is still officially recognized as Heritage Day.

HERITAGE DAY ACTIVITIES

Read up on South Africa’s history

Do some research on South Africa’s cultural past. Read up on their intense political history (Nelson Mandela’s life to start), racial injustices, languages, and culture in general. There is so much to learn! It will help you understand the day better and why it’s needed.

Host a Braai

Get the tongs out, heat the barbecue, and invite everyone. But if it’s more fun for you, attend a huge braai with people you may not know. The point is to embrace each other.

Share your day on social media

Use the hashtags #heritageday or #braaiiday to share what you got up to for the day and maybe also what you’ve learned. In 2019, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shared their thoughts about the day on Instagram. ‘‘The area has seen inter-community tension rise over the last few years, yet days like today show how faith, traditions, food, and music bring people together and celebrate the things that unite each and every one of us.’’

At ARPS we are looking forward to many braai days with friends and co-workers.  #braaiiday