Heritage Day is a public holiday which is celebrated on September 24th every year in South Africa and by South Africans all over the world. It is a day in which South Africans are encouraged to remember their roots and the diverse culture that forged them. It is a holiday that has been officially celebrated since the mid-1990s.
History of Heritage Day
While Heritage Day wasn’t officially designated a holiday until 1995, it can actually trace its roots back much further. In the province of KwaZulu-Natal, September 24th has been a holiday used to commemorate the King Shaka Zulu – a Zulu king which died on September 24th, 1828 – since his death. That day was called Shaka Day and was celebrated because King Shaka Zulu is seen as a figure who united many of the tribes and clans, and as a result combined many of their cultures into one big culture.
During the 1990s, a proposed Public Holidays Bill was introduced into the New South African Parliament. However, this bill omitted Shaka Day as a holiday which didn’t sit well with the Inkatha Freedom Party – a political party that had a large number of Zulu constituents. They objected to the bill, and as a result, Heritage Day was proposed as a compromise between the various political parties.
Heritage Day Customs & Celebrations
Since Heritage Day is a day that is used to remember the cultural heritage of South Africans, it is probably no surprise that many events are staged throughout the entire country on this day. On this day, many South Africans have their friends over and have a BBQ, or what is known as braais in South Africa. Some South Africans use the day to visit exhibits or museum display dedicated to the history of their country. Other events often include concerts, speeches, and other public celebrations.
When is Heritage Day?
|This year (2020)||September 24 (Thursday)||Multiple dates - more|
|Next year (2021)||September 24 (Friday)||Multiple dates - more|
|Last year (2019)||September 24 (Tuesday)||Multiple dates - more|