The Truth About Heritage Day

South African flag

September, our gateway to warmer days. it was only fitting that Tourism and Heritage are celebrated in this month. The sun is out, making it possible for nature to repair itself by bringing bright flowers and taller trees. Our rich South African heritage is also another dash of colour during this time.

zulu men
Image source: Viator,com

September the 24th

Colourful African attires and traditional beer are what come to mind when most of us think heritage, but it is more than that. According to the Oxford dictionary, heritage is property that is or can be inherited. Other words that describe heritage include: estate, Inheritance and legacy.

On the 24th of September South Africans celebrate Heritage Day, some without any knowledge of the history of this holiday. According to National Today the history and origin of Heritage Day traces back to the Zulu nation. It all started as a day to commemorate King Shaka for uniting the Zulu clan as well as forming the Zulu nation. The day has since been known as a one of celebrating South Africa’s rainbow nation.

Meat on the braai stand
Image source: The Daily Beast

Heritage Day or Braai Day

The Heritage Day or Braai Day topic is discussed annually. In 2005 there was a media campaign that with the mandate to have the day known as Braai Day instead of Heritage Day. This campaign was spear headed by Jan Scannel, also known as Jan Braai.

Many Black South Africans feel like this attempted name change was a way to take away from the real commemoration of the day by shifting the attention to something totally unrelated. The media had took it from an angle of Braaing being part of South Africas heritage, but this is a topic for another day.

Its your day

The debate around the 24th can go on and on, what is important is your personal decision. It is important to note that heritage is more than culture, it is more about teaching or possessions that have been passed down from generation to generation. So, whether you choose to celebrate the 24th of September as Braai Day or as Heritage Day, its your day… enjoy it in the best way that you know how.