Heritage Day

Heritage Day is a public holiday celebrated on September 24th every year in South Africa and by South Africans living in other countries as well. It is a day on which South Africans are encouraged to remember their roots and the diverse culture that has shaped them.

The goal of this holiday is to help every South African embrace and accept all genders and races. This holiday is not just about embracing and nurturing South African culture, however. It is also about fun, and the day is usually celebrated by gathering together with friends and family for a cookout or engaging in some other communal activity that is enjoyable for everyone.

The History of Heritage Day

While Heritage Day was not officially designated a holiday until 1995, its origins can be traced back much further. In the province of KwaZulu-Natal, September 24th was a holiday used to commemorate King Shaka Zulu, who died on September 24th, 1828.

That day was called Shaka Day and was celebrated because King Shaka Zulu is seen as a unifying figure who united many tribes and clans, thereby combining many of their cultures into one. 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 did not sit well with the Inkatha Freedom Party — a political party with 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 used to remember the cultural heritage of South Africans, it is no surprise that many events are staged throughout the country on this day.

Many South Africans invite friends over to their homes for a BBQ, or what is known as a braai in South Africa. The South African braai can be used to cook just about anything, including farmer sausages, chicken, lamb, beef, and various types of game meat.

On this holiday, some South Africans use the day to visit exhibits or museum displays dedicated to the history of their country. Other events often include concerts, speeches, and other public celebrations.

It is also common for various cultural heritage events to be observed all over the country. After all, it is a day to honor and celebrate all South African cultures and is a good day for people to broaden their horizons.

Where is it celebrated?
South Africa (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
September 24 Tuesday
Next year (2025)
September 24 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
September 24 Sunday