Why Heritage Day Is Important To The South African Nation
Heritage Day or Braai Day as it has colloquially become known, is celebrated on the 24th of September. South Africans are encouraged to celebrate their cultural traditions and beliefs and the rich diversity that makes us proudly South African.
The day was declared a holiday during the late former president Nelson Mandela’s tenure.
Heritage day should not be seen as a mere holiday and a day off, it should be an opportunity to embrace your cultural values and traditions.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu became the national spokesperson for National Braai Day in 2007 and the name was changed to Braai4Heritage.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “We’re going to have this wonderful thing on the 24th of this month when we all gather round one fire. 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 ons saam [‘we do this thing together’]… just South Africans doing one thing together, and recognizing that we are a fantastic nation.”
Archbishop Emeritus Tutu thought that the idea of using the braai to unite people was a very good one as it is common for people from various cultures in South Africa to gather together around a fire to celebrate.
Why is Heritage Day Important?
It is important for all South Africans to celebrate our culture and heritage against the background of our unique diversity. In so doing, we build pride in ourselves and our nation as we remember the difficulties of the past and share in the victories of the present and raise hope for the future.
South African Culture
South Africa has been legendarily referred to as the rainbow nation because it is made up of so many diverse cultures and religions. To name but a few in South Africa, we have:
All of these people are united by calling South Africa their home and has their own unique culture and identity.
Interesting Heritage Facts
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
The purpose of Heritage Day is to expose people to the differences, to enable us to understand, respect and appreciate other cultures. There are positive things in every culture. If we can adopt or even just accept what is good in other cultures, we will grow as individuals and contribute to a more unified South Africa.
South Africa has its ups and its downs but one thing is always certain. When needed our rainbow nation comes together as a force to be reckoned with. Happy Heritage Day, South Africa.