The Significance of Heritage Day in South Africa

The Significance of Heritage Day in South Africa (News Central TV)

President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead South Africans today on National Heritage Day, Saturday 24 September 2022 to honour  indigenous music and its immense contribution to sports, arts, culture and heritage.

Themed “Celebrating the Legacy of Solomon Linda and South Africa’s Indigenous Music,” the national observance will be held at the Union Buildings in Tshwane.

The event embraces the vast cultural diversity and history that marks the country’s unique heritage. This year’s theme pays tribute to the 60th anniversary of the passing of singer and song writer Solomon Popoli Linda. He is best known as the composer of the song “Mbube” which later became the popular music success “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and gave its name to the Mbube style of isicathamiya a capella music.

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South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa

As the nation marks the Heritage Day, South Africans across various spectrum of the society are encouraged to celebrate cultural diversity, traditions and flavours in a wider context of a nation that belongs to everyone. Here are some quick facts about Heritage day.

  • The first Heritage Day was first celebrated in 1995.
  • The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), a South African political party with a largely Zulu membership insisted that it be included in the Public Holidays Bill, this was later ratified by the parliament and the ANC.
  • The holiday is celebrated by wearing colourful traditional clothes.
  • It was known as Shaka day, in commemoration of Shaka Zulu -The Zulu King who united different clans together. Each year, people gather at King Shaka’s grave in Stanger to honour him.
  • The day is informally known as Braai Day as many South Africans typically enjoy a Braai (outdoor barbecue ) with family and friends. Braai day came about in 2005 when a media campaign tried to rebrand the day.
  •  According to the UNESCO, some of the designated World Heritage sites in South Africa include:  
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Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa (1999, 2005)

Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape (2003)

Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape (2007)

Robben Island (1999)

ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape (2017)

Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains (2018)

Cape Floral Region Protected Areas (2004, 2015)

iSimangaliso Wetland Park (1999)

Vredefort Dome (2005)

Maloti-Drakensberg Park (2000, 2013)

Whether you are from Kwazulu Natal, Gugulethu or Khayelitsha, let’s take the time to celebrate all the spectacular things that make us uniquely South Africa.Happy Heritage Day Mzansi!


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