Heritage Day is Braai Day in South Africa. Should Heritage Day be Braai Day? Or is this trivialising our environmental and cultural birthrights? How should we celebrate our history and our background as South Africans? Most South Africans love to braai – of all races and colours and classes! So why not all do it on one special day of the year, together?
A person who was born in South Africa, for instance, has both a national South African heritage, as well as a more personal and private one. Such a person might also be considered to have an African heritage too, because they were born on the continent of Africa.
When we all celebrate Heritage Day on 24 September every year, we remember all our cultures and people, our diverse population! And we throw the meat on the braai, gather around and have a great time. We teach our families about our fantastic national symbols and we full our souls with HOPE for our future in our land, our beloved land.
A country’s natural heritage is its beautiful environment and natural resources, like gold and water. Areas that are very special and where animals or plants are in danger of extinction.
We have many World Heritage Sites such as Table Mountain – areas so unique and so rich in environmental and cultural history that they are protected from harm by humans.
Cultural heritage might include natural resources or land formations, but is also formed of those things that are symbollic of the creativity and livelihoods of a group of people. For instance, it could include special monuments, buildings, sculptures, paintings, cave dwellings or anything else deemed important because of its history, artistic or scientific value.
Living heritage is the foundation of all communities and an essential source of identity and continuity. Aspects of living heritage include: cultural tradition, oral history, performance, ritual, popular memory, skills and techniques, indigenous knowledge system and the holistic approach to nature, society and social relationships.
Happy Heritage Day!
Heritage Day is one of the newly created South African public holidays. It is a day in which all are encouraged to celebrate their cultural traditions in the wider context of the great diversity of cultures, beliefs, and traditions that make up the nation of South Africa.
South Africa has been famously referred to as the rainbow nation because it is made up of so many diverse cultures and religions. Contained within South Africa’s borders are Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Tswana, Ndebele, Khoisan, Hindu, Muslim, and Afrikaner people to name but a few. All of these people are united by calling South Africa home, and therefore their lives all contribute to forming a part of the country’s heritage, identity and culture. .
It was an innovative man who decided that we needed to have Braai Day on Heritage Day. Jan Scannell – also called Jan Braai – asked all South Africans to have a braai on Heritage Day. We all love to braai and we all braai in unique ways. Even the notable Archbishop Emeritus 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.”