Heritage in South Africa: embracing differences in culture and visit some of our heritage sites for Tourism month
Heritage is something quite personal and changes from person to person.
It is something that we as South Africans particularly find important to recognise because of the diversity of our people, identified in the formative years of our Democracy by Nelson Mandela and his new government.
In his address marking Heritage Day 1996, the late former State President Nelson Mandela said: “When our first democratically elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation.”
Heritage Day is a day to remember and celebrate all the various South African cultures and their unique heritage. When people talk about South African heritage, they might be referring to anything from famous stretches of coastline in Kwazulu-Natal, to shweshwe fabric or veldskoen, to Bunny Chow, Bobotie, boerewors and beyond. Prior to 1995 Heritage Day was in fact called Shaka Day in commemoration of the Zulu King, while in 2005 a campaign sought to brand the day as National Braai Day with the Archbishop Desmond Tutu accepting his role of patron of South Africa’s braai day in 2007.
Honouring the diversity of our country’s people and recognising our differences and richness in all respective cultures is at the heart of South Africa’s beautiful uniqueness.