Just Saying; Heritage Day


img_20161128_123945.jpgHeritage Day is an annual public holiday in South Africa on September 24. The “rainbow nation” – South Africa – has had a bloody history, but its cultural heritage and traditions date back far further.  Heritage Day is a celebration not only of the past, but of the contributions of the South African people in making the country what it is today.

South Africa is a heterogeneous country with many different tribes, history, background and culture, there cannot [be] uniform celebrations. Variety is defined as a national asset, and the government announces themes each year that guide official celebrations.  The theme for 2013 was ‘Reclaiming, Restoring and Celebrating our Living Heritage’.

South Africans defines their heritage “as who they are, what they have and how they do things”. Choosing to embrace diversity, recognising the rich natural resources, the potential of the people, and the collaborative peaceful approach, “brings to everything they do their remarkable rebirth and transition from a pariah state to a stable prosperous growing democracy”.

Heritage Day was created to celebrate all the unique which is the South African identity, and “to give the people a chance to reflect on themselves and their past, present and future”.

South Africans commemorate Heritage Day by remembering the cultural heritage of the many cultures that make up the population of the country. Various events are staged throughout the country to commemorate the day.

The legendary Zulu king Shaka is said to have played a significant role in uniting the disparate tribes of South Africa into a cohesive role. September 24, was celebrated as Shaka Day in the KwaZulu-Natal area. When the South African parliament was considering the bill of public holiday, this day was not included, leading to protests by the Inkatha Freedom Party, which had large Zulu representation and support. In order to reach a compromise, the date was renamed Heritage Day and included in the bill.

In an address marking Heritage Day in 1996, former President Nelson Mandela stated: “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.”

Since then, it has evolved in parallel into National Braai Day, celebrating the joyful unifying South African tradition of backyard braai.

South Africans across the spectrum are encouraged to celebrate their culture and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions, in the wider context of a nation that belongs to all its people.

– Wikipedia/SA History/Calendarlabs

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