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How Do We Celebrate Heritage Day?

What is Heritage Day?

Heritage Day in South Africa, also known as National Braai Day or Braai Day (from the Afrikaans word braaivleis meaning “grilled meat”), is celebrated every year on September 24th. The day was created to celebrate the nation’s cultural heritage and diversity. It is a public holiday which gives people of all backgrounds an opportunity to come together and enjoy traditional South African culture by celebrating their food, music, art and customs.

History of Heritage Day

The concept of Heritage Day originated from Nelson Mandela who wanted to create a national holiday that would unite all cultures within South Africa following Apartheid. His vision was for everyone to be able to appreciate each other’s cultures without discrimination or prejudice in order for everyone feel accepted regardless of their ethnic background or religion.

In 1995 it was declared that September 24th would be dedicated as ‘Co-existence’ day but it wasn’t until 1996 when President Nelson Mandela changed its name to ‘National Braai/Barbecue/Shisa Nyama’ day – where the term shisa nyama comes from Zulu language which translates into “burn the meat”. This change encouraged all South Africans around the country to share stories while enjoying delicious barbecued meats with family and friends; thus creating unity through shared experiences during this special time.

How Do We Celebrate?

Celebrating Heritage Day can take many forms depending on your own personal tastes and beliefs, however there are some common activities that people often do:

  • Hosting a Barbecue:

.This has become one of the most popular ways in which people celebrate heritage day by hosting a big gathering at either home or even outside spaces such as parks or beaches – making sure they have plenty of boerewors (traditional sausages) ready for grilling! Music usually accompanies these events adding an extra celebratory atmosphere among those attending!

  • Attending Cultural Events:

. A variety of festivals are held throughout townships across SA every year showcasing vibrant arts & crafts, music performances typical traditional dances like gumboot dancing along with local foods being served up throughout these festivities; allowing families & friends alike to experience different cultures that exist right here in our beautiful country!

  • Donating To Charities:

. People can show their appreciation towards others less fortunate by donating money & goods towards organisations supporting vulnerable children living within disadvantaged areas; giving them access resources such as education, healthcare & nutritional meals so they too may benefit from this amazing celebration!


No matter how you choose to spend your heritage day whether it’s at home cooking up some tasty treats with family members or out exploring new cultural experiences – embrace what makes us unique here in SA whilst appreciating each other’s differences rather than focusing on our similarities – now THAT’S something worth celebrating indeed!!

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