By Naseerah Nanabhai
When Heritage Day was proclaimed an official holiday in 1996, former 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 on the 24th of September is a national day celebrating our cultures, beliefs and traditions in the context of its diversity and uniqueness.
On this day, South Africans recognise the cultural wealth and heritage of the nation’s population, strengthening community pride, helping people connect, and ensuring cultures continue to grow.
Given the ongoing pandemic, various events are organised countrywide to commemorate the day, many of which may not occur this year. Despite not attending these events, we can still observe the day by celebrating with close family and friends and taking into account the heritage of our country’s population.
In 2005, Heritage Day was rebranded as National Braai Day to celebrate heritage through food and traditional backyard braai’s. While some believed this was an inappropriate way to celebrate the day, the idea gained colossal support and approval over the years.
The idea was endorsed by South Africa’s National Heritage Council, which then changed the name to Braai4Heritage. In such a diverse country, nothing unites us more than a blazing braai. So while we celebrate our rich culture and heritage on the 24th of September, we can also relish the day with delightful char-grilled meat.