How Heritage Day is celebrated in South African families: food, speech, outfits, pictures

How Heritage Day is celebrated in South African families: food, speech, outfits, pictures

Heritage Day in South Africa is celebrated annually, even though these celebrations run from the start to the end of September. The national event aims to recognize the country's cultural aspects and use the differences during the pre-apartheid era to heal the country. In line with this, people enjoy creative expression, food, especially braai, language, and art performances. They use the differences in culture and customs to define where they want the country to head and how they can successfully uproot the evils of the colonial regime.

Heritage Day pictures
People celebrating. Photo: @CricketSouthAfrica (modified by author)
Source: UGC

The South Africa Heritage Day is celebrated on September 24th every year though celebrations run from the first to the 30th of the month. During the month, people celebrate by enjoying their creative expression, including performances and music, language, inheritance, popular memory, and even South African food.

How is Heritage Day celebrated in families in South Africa?

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The South Africa Heritage Day events are used to celebrate and remember the cultural and political struggles of the people of South Africa in fighting apartheid and associated racism.

The celebration coincides with the day that King Shaka died. Historically, this celebration was marked as Shaka Day in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The celebrations played tribute to the King for his efforts to bring together all Zulu clans.

Changes that were made to Heritage Day

In 1995 when the new constitution was taking shape, the day was omitted from the public holiday bill. This angered a faction of the parliament, specifically those loyal to the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Consequently, and to reach a compromise, the government opted to create a day that everybody could relate to; hence came Heritage Day. Today, the occasion is celebrated by remembering and recognizing elements of South African culture.

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Likewise, the event reminds the people that inequities and injustices of the past form a part of the country's national identity. In 2005, following an aggressive media campaign, the celebration was renamed to The National Braai Day, as it was felt that most people would associate with the braai background.

Heritage Day food

Heritage Day food
Baarais meal. Photo: @MealIdeasWithLelo
Source: Facebook

Besides celebrating cultural heritage and national identity, people sit with their friends and family and enjoy various meals such as braais. The braai is the Afrikaans' name for grilled meat.

Braai is an essential social custom in South Africa and many other African countries. During this day, meat is grilled over coal as people gather around the fire to enjoy their meat and share their experiences.

You can also prepare other traditional dishes such as Pap and Chakalaka, Melktert, Malay Bobotie, Pumpkin Fritters, Cape Dutch koeksisters, Curried samp and beans, Easy mealie bread, Waterblommetjie bredie, Masala chicken Gatsby and Suzelle's DIY Braai Pie.

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Heritage Day dress up ideas in South Africa

Heritage Day outfits help to tell the story of African fashion and how it continues to be inspired by heritage and culture. During this important day, men wear kilts, and women wear traditional dresses called ele or hele head wrap called Tuku, and beads around the neck called Dipetha.

Nonetheless, the outfits are not limited since different tribes can opt to dress according to their traditions. For instance, for Xhosa women, their most common traditional wear is an umbhaco. It is a long skirt and apron made from printed or embroidered fabrics. The Xhosa attire includes beaded necklaces, called ithumbu.

For the Zulu people, the women wear isicholo; a flared disk-shaped hat. A thick cowhide skirt accompanies this hat softened with animal fat and charcoal, called isidwaba. Men wear a front apron, an isinene, and a rear apron, ibheshu, to cover the gen*tals and bu*tocks.

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Heritage Day quotes

Heritage Day quotes
The Flag of South Africa. Photo:, @ubuntuimage (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Heritage Day is an important day when citizens recognize and celebrate their social conventions. Aside from the Heritage Day speeches that are always given, some quotes and sayings can help you connect with and understand the day's significance. They include:

  • Heritage is the most precious thing we have.
  • Let us join hands to preserve our heritage.
  • Be proud of Indian heritage, as it has a lot to offer.
  • Let us show some responsibility towards our heritage.
  • Our culture and our heritage define our present and future.
  • Save your heritage from damage, as it is the most precious asset.
  • A rich cultural heritage depends on the ability of people to maintain their distinctiveness and unique identities.
  • World Heritage Day aims to identify the beauty of monuments and preserves their identity from the roots.
  • Memory is the fortune spot of the psyche where the monuments of the psyche are stored and preserved.
  • We must never forget our roots, and our heritage is the root that gives us strength and makes us unique. Wishing you a very happy Heritage Day.

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Heritage Day poems

Poetry has been used by South Africans to express their joy and to highlight the significance of Heritage Day. Below is a poem by Nikita Tshawe.

First stanza

Sons of the soil.

Daughters of the soil.

Wake up and rejoice, for it's the day of your heritage.

Celebrate your culture, for it is your privilege.

Second stanza

You are Africa; Africa is you.

A nation so diverse and true.

A real rainbow nation.

Deeply rooted in our tradition.

Third stanza

Nna ke mo Tswana, ebile ke motlotlo ka bo Tswana bame.

Nna ke mo Pedi, ebile ka ikgantsha ka go nna mo Pedi.

Mna ndi ngum Xhosa, ubona nje, ndiyazi dla ngo buXhosa bam.

Mina ngi ngum Zulu qobo, futhi ngiyazi qhenya.

Fourth stanza

On this day, remember who you are.

On this day, commemorate who you are.

Take pride in your true identity.

Let there be peace and serenity.

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In South Africa our land.

Together may we all stand.

Fifth stanza

Le ga ole moTswana wa Afrika.

Noba ungu m'Xhosa wase Afrika.

Le ha ole mo Sotho wa Afrika Borwa.

Are rataneng. Masi thandaneni.

Sixth stanza

On this day, speak your mother tongue.

On this day, sing your clan song.

A moTswana eme a kgibe.

UmXhosa maka phakame axhentse.

UmZulu maka sukume agide.

A moPedi a emelle bine.

Seventh stanza

Sons of the soil.

Daughters of the soil.

Wake up and rejoice, for it's the day of your heritage.

Celebrate your culture, for it is your privilege.

Why is Heritage Day important?

Why is Heritage Day important
Photo of a woman wearing traditional headwear. Photo:, @magdaehlers
Source: UGC

Heritage Day events are important in that they promulgate a national identity, foster reconciliation, and cultivate the notion that differences can be used as assets instead of tools of conflict.

This drive led President Nelson Mandela and his government to make September 24th a heritage celebration day. According to him, South African people's rich yet varied cultural heritage could help rebuild the newly reformed nation.

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In addition, the country would collectively seek to fight the evils instigated by the ousted apartheid regime. The new regime knew this could only be achieved if the people came together.

How is Heritage Day celebrated in churches?

Heritage Day pictures and events reflect the country's culture and history. While this month is about having fun and enjoying the culture, churches also observe it by serving and encouraging Christians to do good.

Various churches organize various activities for children and the elderly. Some go so far as to share and assist the less fortunate to show love and care for those who may not be able to celebrate this day.

Are liquor stores open on Heritage Day?

Yes, most businesses are closed on this day, with the exception of major retailers such as grocery stores. It is regarded as an important day that everyone should commemorate.

What activities do we do on Heritage Day?

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This day can be celebrated by dancing to Soweto music, cooking and sharing various meals, reciting poems, attending church functions and gatherings, and simply sharing good times as a community or family.

If you have been asking questions such as "How is Heritage Day celebrated in families in South Africa?", the above points will give you a good idea of what happens during this important day.

READ ALSO: Types of African tribal masks, their meanings and pictures recently published an article with pictures and descriptions of various types of African tribal masks. These masks have long played an important role in celebrations, rituals, and tribal initiations.

Masks from various African tribes are worn for various reasons. Some are used as power symbols to ward off evil spirits, while others are used for celebration and thanksgiving following a successful harvest.

Source: Briefly News

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