National Heritage Day (a.k.a. National Braai Day)

As someone who is not from South Africa, but who really enjoys living here, I try to get an understanding of each national holiday — as I enjoy a day off from work 🙂 Like most folks, I looked online for useful information and found three sites to inform my understanding of what this day is all about… Wikipedia (, South African History Online ( and National Braai Day

National Heritage Day is a day for South Africans to celebrate their culture/cultural traditions and the diversity of cultures, beliefs and traditions that exist in South Africa. The 24th of September has historical significance; in KwaZulu-Natal it was known as Shaka Day, in honor of the legendary King Shaka Zulu who played an important role in uniting disparate Zulu clans into a cohesive nation.  The original Public Holidays Bill that was proposed in parliment did not include Shaka Day. This caused the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), a South African political party with a large Zulu membership, to object to the bill. A compromise was reached when it was decided to create a day where all South Africans could observe and celebrate their diverse cultural heritage.

In an address marking Heritage Day in 1996, former President Nelson Mandela stated:

“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.”

There was a media campaign in 2005 aimed at re-branding National Heritage Day as National Braai Day. It seems only after Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu became the official patron of “Braai Day”, in 2007, that the National Heritage Council endorsed the idea.

The premise of the National Braai Day initiative is that there is one heritage common to all South Africans; to gather around fires and braai. In his role as patron of the holiday, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was quoted as saying “We’re going to have this wonderful thing on the 24th of this month … when we all gather round one fire…It’s a fantastic thing, a very simple idea. Irrespective of your politics, of your culture, of your race, of your whatever, hierdie ding doen ons saam [this thing we do together] … just South Africans doing one thing together, and recognizing that we are a fantastic nation.”

So you can see this is more than just an excuse for a day off!

Below are a couple of ideas for celebrating National Heritage Day/National Braai Day, and check out the “extreme braai” video at the top of the page for inspiration.

The Claremont Cricket Club, a Constantia landmark, is the perfect place for a family-style eatery and will be hosting its first annual Heritage Day (National Braai Day) lunch on Tuesday, 24 September 2013.

Celebrate Heritage Day at this great location with friends and family, while you enjoy spectacular scenery, with views of Table Mountain across the cricket fields. Guests can expect a casual atmosphere, excellent food and service and the perfect venue to unwind.

For more information visit

Celebrate South Africa’s rich heritage with Simba on 24 September

Simba has been a part of South African families for over 57 years sharing in many happy memories of good times enjoyed by all with a packet of Simba chips.

By providing truly South African snacks that embody local flavours and tastes (e.g. Mrs Balls Chutney, Salt & Vinegar and Monkey Gland Sauce flavoured potato chips), Simba has ensured they continue to be part of every family occasion, with a legacy deeply entrenched in the hearts and tastes of South Africans around the country.

So when you get-together to celebrate Heritage Day this year don’t forget to encourage Simba’s vision of Mapha…sharing the moment and the experience and creating new memories.

This content is a guest post

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