This holiday got its start 21 years ago, thanks to the late president Nelson Mandela. Heritage Day highlights the melting pot of diverse cultures, races, traditions, and beliefs in South Africa and gives each unique group its pride of place on the national stage. As such; traditional dresses, rituals, and food are brought into focus, and more specifically a South African favourite, the art of braaing.
Braaing is a well-established national pastime, given its nation-building potential and our desire to braai whenever a public holiday occurs. The simple idea of togetherness is brought forward by the communal nature of preparing a meal for family or friends. Ideally, this would spill over into connecting with others who may not share your heritage. Despite our mixed heritage and different traditions, all rainbow nation citizens enjoy the fellowship and sense of community that a braai brings. The nickname “National Braai Day” came about in 2005.
Nobel Peace laureate, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is the patron of the “Braai for Heritage” campaign, which is celebrated on September 24, an official public holiday to mark the nation’s multi-cultural heritage after the fall of apartheid in 1994.
While Heritage Day is about coming together and celebrating a shared past and culture, it is also about ensuring that each culture and belief is recognised. With this in mind, many people want to celebrate their personal beliefs and traditions. Some choose to wear traditional attire, practice traditional rituals, or simply learn more about their ancestors. It is a good time to get together as a family or as friends and look to the past to see how your personal heritage has shaped how you live today.
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